Only opinion I have is bigger is better.
I have a HF 9"X19" lathe and a cheap Grizzley mill/drill. I wish the lathe had cross feed but you need to get into a $2000 machine for cross feed. For the hobby both machines can do whatever I need. There are some nice machines on Craig's list, at least in my area.
You are correct and difficult to buy from Europe but there are few good ones left.There aren't many made in Europe.
Yes they are nice little lathes, but very limited in what you can do with them.Taig and shareline are American made.