It’s a busy day on the Pariser Platz, except for the carriage drivers who ply their trade taking tourists for rides through Berlin’s central park.
While throngs of out-of-towners are having their pictures taken in front of the Brandenberg Gate in the heart of Germany’s capital, business is slow for drivers like Janusz Michalak.
The tourists from Spain, Portugal and Greece, he said, haven’t got five euros to spare for a ride through the Tiergarten. But somehow, he said in disgust, the German government has money to bail out banks in Spain.
“It’s a black hole,” he said, as his horses stood in a line of carriages that weren’t moving. “Everyone is ready to help the big banks. For small people like me there is nothing. But it’s the people’s money.”
For the fourth time since the euro crisis began unwinding three years ago, Germany is playing the lead role and providing critical support for the latest — and by the far the largest — European bailout plan. This time, European finance officials have agreed to put up 100 billion euros ($125.1 billion) to backstop Spain’s banks after investors and depositors began fleeing several weeks ago and new sources of funding dried up.