They have weaker, less robust economies than their northern EU cousins. They all have national debt problems exacerbated by the brutal austerity measures demanded by their prim and proper northern EU money lenders. All have a worrisome degree of social unrest.
And now this - climate change.
The economies of these countries have always enjoyed significant tourist industries as those pasty-skinned, speedo clad northerners flock to their beaches on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. The heat used to be a big attraction. Not any more.
It's just too damned hot.
The traditional summer holiday in Spain and other popular Mediterranean holiday destinations is at risk from droughts and forest fires because of global warming, a European commission report says.
In contrast, northern European countries could see a rise in tourist numbers and related income, according to the analysis by the commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).
As parts of Europe become seasonally inhospitable, tourists are likely to change the length and timing of their holidays – as well as their destinations – the centre says.
Spain and Bulgaria were likely to be the biggest losers from climate disruption, the paper says, while Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia would gain the most.
“Altered climatic conditions may influence the relative allure of many regions,” the study says. “Under current economic conditions, the 2100 climate could lower tourism revenues by up to 0.45 % of GDP per year in Mediterranean EU regions, while other EU regions in northern Europe could gain up to 0.32 % of GDP.”
I think the EU is whistling past the graveyard on this one. The world is poised on the brink of getting a lot hotter in the coming years triggering a lot of migration away from equatorial zones. This is one of the reasons southern Europe is already wrestling with migration out of Africa. The numbers quoted in the EU report, 0.45% GDP loss for Mediterranean regions and an even more paltry 0.32% gain in northern regions by 2100 are all but inconsequential. I doubt many believe that nonsense.