The decision taken at the meeting of Heads of State and Government on 7 May 2010, filled in with the details and finalised within the framework of the Ecofin meeting of 9 May, make that very same day, 9 May 2010, sixty years to the day after Robert Schuman’s declaration, an important day for Europe.

The markets, confronted with the Europe’s unanimous resolve, had to give in and buy back assets and shares they had discounted over several weeks  leading to an immediate rise on stock exchanges. In addition, the decision by the European Central Bank to buy sovereign debt, which had been contrary to its policy the previous day, led to a spectacular easing of rates on the debts of those states which had been under attack by speculators.

All the same the markets remain volatile, and also public-sector deficits will in future need to be better monitored by the Commission. The Commission therefore finds itself in control of the stabilisation fund and with a role in following up plans for a return to normal.

R&D can only applaud the fact that in the face of adversity, a great new advance in European construction has just seen the light of day. The French finance minister even spoke about it as federalism “since the European Fund will be a vehicle for buying assets or offering loans” (Les Echos of 11 May)

Over the course of the last few weeks, Member States have understood the limits of intergovernmental action, and decided during the evening of 9 May 2010 to come to an agreement unprecedented in EU history.

At the same time, Member States, relying on the competence of the Commission and its Civil Servants in the financial domain, entrusted it both with responsibility for a task which is vital for the EU’s future and its economic and political stability, and with new financial instruments .

The eurosceptics who thought that the principles of solidarity and responsibility written into the Lisbon Treaty were just empty words, now know the contrary is true.

As former President Delors said, European construction is not the result of continuous and regular progress: it progresses in stages followed by periods of stagnation, or even going backwards. On 9 May 2010 the Europe of the EU has taken a big step forward.

The EU method and the competence of the European Civil Service have once again proven their effectiveness.  Such a development in the area of the Euro should encourage the Commission to be more ambitious in the diplomatic domain, especially in regard to setting up the European External Action Service.