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Koch-Mehrin resigns due to plagiarism row

The Local · 12 May 2011, 08:03

Published: 12 May 2011 08:03 GMT+02:00

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Her decision came shortly after she had a conversation with new FDP leader Philipp Rösler during which they agreed she would give up her jobs.

He had only just imposed his authority on the party in Germany and shuffled some of the more senior members’ jobs so as to get the crucial economics minister post for himself.

The party “respectfully acknowledges” Koch-Mehrin’s decision, and thanked her, “for her service in the liberal cause over many years,” said Christian Lindner, FDP general secretary and a close ally of Rösler, after her resignation.

Koch-Mehrin, 40, said her move was an attempt to protect her family as well as the party from the continuing consequences of the discussion over her doctorate.

Allegations that she used quotes from other publications in her thesis without properly acknowledging the sources have been circulating for weeks, while Heidelberg University, where she studied, has launched an investigation and invited her to submit a statement. It may strip her of her doctorate.

“I would like that this investigation be conducted confidentially, fairly and according to legal standards and without notice of my person, and not burdened by the fact that I hold high offices,” she said on Wednesday night – her first statement on the matter.

She gave up her positions as chair of the FDP in the European Parliament, as well as her membership of the FDP executive committee and her job as Vice President of the European Parliament, but will remain an MEP.

“I hope this step eases the new start that is being made by my party with a new leadership,” she said.

She was giving up her position as Vice President of the European Parliament, “so that I do not offer a target for attacks on the only democratically legitimate institution of the European Union,” she added.

Story continues below…

Former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg resigned all his offices after his doctoral thesis was found to have been riddled with plagiarism.

The Bayreuth University published its report on the matter on Wednesday, concluding he had deliberately copied significant parts of the thesis. The public prosecutor is considering a number of formal complaints against him.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:48 May 12, 2011 by annan1063
Appears that the German politicians are liars and cheats too...just like the Americans...:-(
08:56 May 12, 2011 by catjones
@annan1063....stupid comparison. German politicians do not have a monopoly on lying and cheating anymore than any other group...in the world, including posters.
09:11 May 12, 2011 by ame64
Most politicians do what they can to get into and stay in power. After all, a well paid job for not doing very much. It has nothing to do with Germans or Americans. So the comparison is really not the smartest.

The question should more be: why does a politican need a dr. title? I would much rather vote for a "working class" politician who knows how "normal" people think and live.
09:15 May 12, 2011 by Krim
I think she does not deserve to stay as a MP in the european parlement. This is joke that she is allowed to keep this position. The media are hiding that she will keep getting a huge salary from tax payer money.
10:09 May 12, 2011 by lordkorner
I argued with a German friend of mine over their mindset regarding distinctions between people on the basis of class and titles.I had had a conversation with him about my son and his interest in tennis,I suggested that I might join a certain club in a certain area,he scoffed and said that that was no club for the likes of us but rather for a certain family who live in our neighbourhood.He also referred to his family and mine as ordinary, What is so special about this other family?,she (the wife) has a doctorate and their house is slightly bigger than ours .My wife who is German tells me that the Austrians are even worse,there even the wife of a doctor should be greeted with the title, Frau Doctor.
12:40 May 12, 2011 by nemo999
Another one bites the dust. The question is how many more are there?
12:53 May 12, 2011 by lucksi
That is the third high profile case now. I think it's time for stricter internet control. Because of terrorism boogaboogabooga.

What? You think the Gods in charge let their power be wittled away from some internet "Kellerkinder"?
13:02 May 12, 2011 by dcgi
Ha Ha
13:06 May 12, 2011 by Englishted
Once again ,one is found out. How many more ?,

But just resigning is not enough fraud is fraud and a criminal offence ,where is the police involvement ?.

They should be sacked as would for example a checkout girl who lied on her C.V..
13:35 May 12, 2011 by maxbrando
The "DoMiDo" professors at Heidelberg Uni need to come to class more often to see what their students are really up to. Hahaha
15:03 May 12, 2011 by Englishted

Your point is ?

If it's O.K in the U.K. then it's O.K. everywhere ?
15:17 May 12, 2011 by finanzdoktor
What is really ironic, is how a foreigner with a business card with the title "Dr." on it, can be arrested for fraud since their doctorate degree was not earned in Germany. Why? Because they say it does not meet their standards.

Ok, what standards?? Or, would it be more corret to say, what lack of standards? Could not resist.
23:27 May 12, 2011 by JPaul
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:36 May 13, 2011 by showtyd75
lf the investigation goes further,there would be a suprise that a lot of german scholar especially in politics,Goverment and and companies would be affected.that shows they are basketsand get the high level with low esteem,untrustworthly,fake papers(presentations) to get to where they are now.but they will be saying foreigners are using fake papers,they better check themselves and do something better for their country rather than copy and paste
18:41 May 13, 2011 by EastPrussia
@JPaul - "Why does a politician need a doctorate? Why does anyone need an education? Rather vote for a "working class" person who knows how "normal" people live?"

HAH! That is exactly right. These accusations wouldn't even happen if they weren't about high-profile politicians.

So she didn't cite a few sources in her doctoral thesis? Big deal. How does that make her less qualified for her job? Were her leadership qualities ever in question BEFORE these accusations? It seems that a few 'nerds' with a computer are trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of others, and that isn't right. It seems the criteria for a full investigation of public figures is not very extensive. Just say anything. Investigation.

No one works as hard at restoring somebody's reputation as they do destroying it.
23:50 May 13, 2011 by slawek
The problem is that she's setting a bad example. This also rises the legitimate follow-up questions like: how did she finish high-school and how did she graduate. All by cheating? Finally the question, what kind of person is she?

I know that cheating is wide-spread in German schools, even among the best pupils. However what sort of persons will they become? The answer to that isn's pretty. They are pretenders - all they can do is use others.

That's why she disqualified herself as politician, because she's not a trustworthy person.
00:08 May 14, 2011 by JPaul
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:58 May 14, 2011 by FreiburgandCambridge
I think a law should be passed that anyone who is found guilty of cheating to gain their 'Dr' not only lose their Dr title but MUST, from then on, have the word "Cheat" somewhere in their title.

Herr Cheat Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
20:38 May 14, 2011 by Englishted

Great idea ,start a facebook page and I'll join.
21:07 May 14, 2011 by Veritberg
The question is not what is going on with these individual cases, forget that.

But now, with this third one come to light in just as many months, it is time to cast one's eyes instead towards these Academic Institution's Doctorate Issuing Committees.

Who are, at the very least, either just grossly negligent at their jobs/asleep at the switch, which is the kindest thing that can be said, or at worst, utterly complicit in perpetrating a fraud that is Institutional in nature.

Odds are that that is likely a 50-50 Proposition.
22:03 May 15, 2011 by strahlungsamt
To those of you who think it's no big deal, it is a HUGE deal. Germany's universities are among the finest in the World. Whenever someone lies to get a doctorate at one, the value of that university is called into question. Hell, if I got found out lying on my CV, I would be turfed out of my job immediately. And I don't even have (nor claim to have) a doctorate. Now anytime someone hears "University of Bayreuth" or Heidelberg, they will think Guttenberg = Googleburg = cheat = university useless. This is a kick in the teeth to everyone who studied hard to get a doctorate, (often at night while working a job by day to support themselves).

FDP and CDU/CSU are the parties of the rich. Guttenberg lives in a castle in Bavaria and is worth millions, probably billions, and has servants and horses and is a freakin' baron ferchrissakes! I'm sure Koch-Mehrin didn't work her way through college by in a titty bar. So any story about no time for family is, quite frankly, scheissse.

Typical conservatives. Lie about everything. In America it's military service, in Germany it's your doctorate. Then, when the press is closing in, start screaming "Islam" or "Pedophilia". Or how about questioning that half-Asian FDP guy's birth certificate? I'm sure that'll go down well in Bayern.
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