Jean Monnet, Director of the French National Planning Agency for Modernisation and Infrastructure, regarded economic rapprochement among the states of Europe as fundamental to the prosperity and security of France. He wanted practical European unity in the form of close integration in key sectors, as a way of creating genuine solidarity among the partners. He also saw the pooling of coal and steel resources as the first step towards establishing a ‘European federation’. In his eyes, Schuman was the political operator who would bring his plan to fruition.