Following the American Revolutionary War, Alexander Hamilton became the first Treasury Secretary of the newly-formed United States.
He also found time to establish the Bank of New York, the centralised Mint, the Bank of North America, and the First Bank of the United States.
His 'moment' however was to assume the Revolutionary War debts of the various states at the Federal level, making the new central authority liable for repayment. This helped create a strong central authority, while giving individual states a positive reason for federalising.
They might have ceded sovereignty, but they also ceded their debt obligations. Hamilton's statecraft therefore placed the new and relatively precarious US on the path to greatness.
But what relation does this bear to the recent acrimonious European summit?
An obvious flaw in the single currency is its lack of a central Treasury and a central finance minister. Tax rates are not harmonised and the normal fiscal transfer of wealth from richer to poorer regions is inhibited.
While richer nations are net contributors to the budget, and the poorer ones net recipients, this is carried out through contributions to the central EU budget at a national level.
The EU has not been able to raise (and spend) money in its own right and has therefore been forced to live within its means.
Planned spending increases meant persuading the politicians of richer nations to contribute more to people who cannot vote for them - seldom an easy task.
The deal allows the EU to borrow up to €750bn, with debt issuance ending in 2026. More than half of this money will be allocated in non-returnable grants over two years, based upon an assessment of how badly individual countries have suffered from the pandemic.
Thereafter, assessment will be driven by the hit to GDP in 2020-21. €360bn will be allocated in repayable loans from the economic reconstruction fund (Next Generation EU) on favourable interest-rate terms.
Opposition was led by the 'frugal five' - Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Sweden - who had sought a greater proportion of loans versus grants, and to tie disbursements to economic reforms.
Individual leaders can pause the programme for economic review, but overall the allocation is decided under qualified majority voting, with no veto over national budgets.
They did, however, negotiate a slightly higher proportion allocated to loans rather than grants, down from the €500bn initially posited.
How will this be financed? Principally, the EU will raise the money in its own right, secured against future contributions from member states, and to be repaid by 2058.
This has the advantage of being zero cost upfront to current politicians - the debts will have to be settled by subsequent generations of leaders.