Bettel revokes college degree in plagiarism scandal


Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister

Photo credit: Anouk Antony

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gave up his postgraduate degree on Tuesday, months after a journalistic investigation revealed he had plagiarized the overwhelming majority of the work.

“After careful consideration, I have made the decision to ask the University to cancel my DEA,” Bettel said, referring to a research degree obtained after a master’s degree, generally considered preparation for a doctorate.

“This is to remove any doubt about the propriety of the DEA (Diploma of Advanced Studies) and to avoid a loss of confidence in academic work,” Bettel said in a statement, in which he also apologized for what happened.

Bettel grabbed the University of Lorrainejust across the Luxembourg border, to cancel the degree “in order to remove any doubt about the merits of the DEA and to avoid a loss of confidence in academic work”.

Bettel’s work as a student contained passages that “could be considered a form of plagiarism” due to inaccurate references, the Nancy-based school said in a separate statement. Bettel had declined an offer from the university to modify his thesis so he could keep it, the university said.

Only two pages – the introduction and the conclusion – out of 56 of Bettel’s book did not contain any plagiarized passage, a newspaper article published by the Reporter site found at the end of October, with twenty pages directly extracted from the European Parliament site.

Bettel saw his popularity drop by seven percentage points in a poll of Luxembourg voters after the scandal broke, although he remained in third place among his colleagues.

“I did it with the right knowledge and a good conscience,” Bettel said when the allegations surfaced, pointing out that his thesis supervisor and the university jury gave him a satisfactory grade because he had better succeeded in both his oral and written defence. part of the exam.

Plagiarism scandals led several politicians to resign in Germany. Annette Schavan, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, resigned in 2013 after being stripped of her doctorate by the University of Düsseldorf.

In 2011, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg resigned after his doctorate was canceled for plagiarism. In the same year, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, a member of the European Parliament, lost her doctoral prize after an investigation revealed that “substantial parts” of her 2000 thesis had been copied from others.

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