‘The Cypriot Minister for Foreign Affairs, George Iacavou, asked in Luxembourg to maintain in the European Constitution project the quotation of the Greek historian Thucydides which had been crossed out in the last document of the Irish Presidency. According to AFP, Hellenists affirmed that the sentence (“our Constitution... is called a democracy because the power is in the hands not of a minority, but of the greatest number”) was badly translated and also that Thucydides was a disputed personality’.
Let us note that the translation was already modified by the Convention. The first version evoked ‘the whole people’, the ‘ultimate’, ‘the greatest number’.
Until the last minute, the Preamble had been discussed. In the Convention, Robert Badinter, former president of the French constitutional Council, had already co-signed, on 3 June 2003, with the author of these lines and Pervenche Berès, a proposal for an amendment to the Preamble to remove the quotation of Thucydides. It did not seem suitable to us to place the Union under the auspices of the founder of realistic geopolitics, a kind of Kissinger of ancient Greece. Others say that they oppose this quotation because it refers to the power of the people, not that of States. The quotation finally disappeared during the Brussels summit on 17 and 18 June 2004. As we see, no word of the Preamble is left aside.