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'Baron Cut-and-Paste' may return to politics

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'Baron Cut-and-Paste' may return to politics
Photo: DPA
12:45 CET+01:00
Bavaria's state premier Horst Seehofer said on Friday he would do his best to bring disgraced former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg back into German politics in 2012.

Aristocratic and glamorous, Guttenberg had been the rising star of the southern conservatives, the Christian Social Union but was forced to resign over the plagiarism in his doctorate thesis in March and became known as Baron Cut-and-Paste.

But Seehofer, who leads the CSU, said he wanted to bring him back into active politics, saying he was determined to get him back for his party, the southern partner of Angela Merkel's ruling Christian Democratic Union.

“Guttenberg is a very, very capable politician,” Seehofer told Bayern 2 radio station on Friday.

“His choice of words this year was not very helpful, not for us in the CSU. But I do not want to attack him here. I will try very hard to persuade him to take on an active role in the CSU,” said Seehofer.

He said he would not be making any public overture to Guttenberg but would wait for the right time to approach him personally. “This will not happen overnight, but I think it will be possible to win him back,” he said.

After resigning, Guttenberg and his family moved to the US where he said he was going to spend some time away from politics.

But he was rarely out of German headlines, first taking on an honorary position at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies where he was described as a “distinguished statesman”.

He soon launched a scathing attack on his former colleagues, telling a security conference in Canada in November that European leadership was failing to understand what was necessary to tackle the debt crisis. He said German politicians were not reaching the people and had no idea how the European Union worked.

Guttenberg also paid €20,000 to a charity as suggested by prosecutors so they would drop charges against him for plagiarism.

He has also just published a book called “Failed – at first” where in a lengthy interview with a journalist, he said his greatest failure was not to admit that he did not have time to write his thesis properly. And he was swiftly brought into European politics, appointed as advisor to the European Union’s internet commissioner just a couple of weeks ago.

Although he has been condemned as a cheat, mocked as Googleberg and his name even included in slang as a metaphor for plagiarising, it seems Guttenberg may yet have a future in German politics.

The Local/hc

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