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Koch-Mehrin accused of skipping work

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Photo: DPA
10:55 CEST+02:00
German European parliament member Silvana Koch-Mehrin, who was stripped of her PhD title earlier this year for plagiarism, has not been to a parliamentary committee meeting since the end of 2009, a TV show claims.

According to state broadcaster ARD's political TV show Panorama, the European parliament's petitions committee is the only one that Koch-Mehrin is still full member of. The Free Democratic Party politician gave up all her other political posts – apart from her parliamentary seat – in June in the wake of the plagiarism scandal.

One of the positions she gave up was her place on an industry, research and energy committee, but ARD claims she hardly ever went to any of its meetings anyway. Koch-Mehrin refused to be interviewed for the TV show and did not want to answer any questions in written form either.

Her fellow FDP MEP Jürgen Creutzmann defended her, telling Panorama that Koch-Mehrin had had many internal party roles to fulfil until the scandal broke.

Asked whether Koch-Mehrin may yet give up her seat, Creutzmann replied, “It's Mrs. Koch-Mehrin's decision to keep her mandate, and I am convinced she will work so hard from now on that this demand won't be necessary anymore.”

ARD also said that Koch-Mehrin has barely attended any public political events in the past four months outside the European parliament. The show also reported that her homepage, which keeps a blog of her current work, had until last week not been updated since June. After the show made some enquiries, Panorama claimed the website was rapidly updated overnight.

Gregor Hackmack of the democracy organization "Abgeordnetenwatch“ called on Koch-Mehrin to think about “handing over her mandate to someone who wants to do the job.”

Koch-Mehrin, once considered a rising star in the FDP, was stripped of her doctor title in June, after an academic committee found that "substantial parts" of her 2000 thesis on currency unions had been copied from elsewhere.

The committee found sections taken from 30 other publications, two-thirds of which were not referred to in the bibliography. The committee's official report classified over 120 individual excerpts of the thesis as plagiarism.

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The issue of her parliamentary attendance has come up even before her plagiarism scandal. In 2009, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported she was attending less than 40 percent of parliamentary debates, a charge which she denied.

The Local/bk

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