In the aftermath of the global banking meltdown, we should not underestimate the very important role played by the European institutions that acted as a bulwark to protect EU members from the full force of the financial crisis. The significance of their contribution to the stabilization of national economies is all too obvious when we consider the situation in countries that are not in the EU, or those that failed to join the European monetary union. However, it is a contribution that is often overlooked by national governments, to the point where we now need a rescue plan to save the EU from member states that appear to be indifferent to its policies and structures.

All too often in recent months, the European Commission has been undermined by national governments who allow public spending deficits to soar over maximum ceilings permitted in the Eurozone or announce plans to assist certain industries (which are specifically forbidden by the fair competition stipulations of European treaties). In many cases, these measures are presented to the media without any consultation with Brussels, or any dialogue with the Commission on the methods or measures to be deployed. Worse still, when the Commission attempts to intervene in these national rescue plans, it is rebuffed in no uncertain terms.

Europe certainly helped to limit the damage of the financial crisis, but the current concern is its ability to restore Europe's economies. Now that the dust has begun to settle, it appears unable to adopt a more offensive strategy to successfully guide member states back to prosperity. But does it have the means to do so? It is in this context that a debate on European instruments of economic governance, which are appropriate to ensure the prosperity and well-being of all the citizens of the European Union, is more than ever urgently needed.

True, Barroso's Commission was too obsequious with regard to member states. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is a disturbing mentality that can be observed in Berlin, Paris, Rome, London, Madrid and many other European capitals, which perceives the Commission as a hindrance and a barrier to national interests rather than as a means to attain them. Something is amiss in the psychology of European member states, which should be urgently addressed. Currently, member states are reluctant to entrust the defence of their interests to the Commission. For the more influential countries, the Commission is perceived as an opposing force that must be coerced. For smaller ones, it is an authority that must be avoided, cheated or simply ignored. The real rescue plan that is required is without a doubt a plan to protect Europe from the unilateral initiatives of unscrupulous national governments.