For some people, the European Parliament elections are insufficient excitement.
For their edification, Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner for internal market and services, has written a book that is to be published by Gallimard this week (17 April). Its title, Se reposer ou être libre, is a well-worn phrase from Thucydides.
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Thucydides’s history of the Peloponnesian wars between Sparta and Athens earned him a reputation as one of the fathers of historical writing, though as a political philosopher he appeared to extol the importance of strength rather than having right on your side.
Having lost out to Jean-Claude Juncker as the EPP’s choice for president of the European Commission, Barnier may appreciate other lines from Thucydides, such as the observation, “In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.”