Some Countries Are Better Armored for Epidemics Than Others

European economies that depend on tourism, small businesses and supply chains may suffer the most. At the other end may be Estonia.


No European country is escaping the economic consequences of the coronavirus, but the pain won’t be divided equally.

Southern Europe, which bore the brunt of the last big economic crisis, will suffer the most. Countries like Greece and Italy depend heavily on tourism and are still suffering the lingering effects of the eurozone debt meltdown over the last decade, including austerity programs that left their health care systems ill prepared for a pandemic.

But even countries regarded as paragons of competitiveness, like Germany and the Netherlands, may turn out to have weaknesses that, until a few weeks ago, were regarded as strengths.

Germany’s automakers, for example, have dominated the luxury car business. But the virus exposed their dependence on sales in China, and now they are closing factories all over the region.