"sick man of Europe" is given to a European country experiencing a time of economic difficulty or impoverishment. In early 20th century it was given to Ottoman empire or modern Turkey.
Throughout the 1970s, the United Kingdom was sometimes called the "sick man of Europe" by critics of its government at home, because of industrial strife and poor economic performance.
In the late 1990s press labeled Germany with this term because of its economic problems, especially due to the costs of German reunification after 1990.
In May 2005, The Economist attributed this title to Italy, describing it as "the real sick man of Europe." This refers to Italy's structural and political difficulties thought to inhibit economic reforms to relaunch economic growth.
The term "sick man of Europe" was applied to Russia in the book Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin's Russia and the End of Revolution by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser and by Mark Steyn in his 2006 book.
In 2007, The Economist described Portugal as "a new sick man of Europe."
A report by Morgan Stanley referred to France as the "new sick man of Europe." This label was reaffirmed in January 2014 by European newspapers such as The Guardian and Frankfurter Allgemeine.
In July 2009, the nickname was given by EurActiv to Greece due to the 2008 Greek riots, rising unemployment and political corruption, bureaucracy and inefficiency.