Frontrunner to succeed Merkel admits plagiarism ‘mistakes’ in book

Armin Laschet, the conservative frontrunner to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel after German elections on September 26th, apologised on Friday after becoming the second major candidate to be accused of plagiarism.

Frontrunner to succeed Merkel admits plagiarism 'mistakes' in book
The conservative chancellor candidate Armin Laschet. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcel Kusch

“There are obviously mistakes for which I bear responsibility,” Laschet said in a statement on Twitter, as he admitted to not properly citing sources in his 2009 book.

“I would like to apologise,” said the head of Merkel’s CDU party, adding that he would commission a review of the book to establish whether any other
errors had been made.

Author and development expert Karsten Weitzenegger tweeted on Thursday that a German “plagiarism hunter” had informed him that Laschet had lifted entire
sentences from his own work on integration, published a year before.

Annalena Baerbock, the Green party’s chancellor candidate, was also accused of plagiarising passages of a book in June.

READ ALSO: German Greens candidate defends herself against plagiarism claim

The scandal was one of a series of blunders that left the Greens trailing badly in the polls, having briefly overtaken the conservatives in April.

Baerbock was also criticised for her failure to declare to parliament a bonus she had received from the party, as well as inaccuracies on her CV that have since been corrected.

But more recently, Laschet has been on the back foot after he was caught on camera laughing in the background during a tribute to the victims of Germany’s recent deadly floods.

In a survey for the RTL and NTV broadcasters published Friday, the conservative CDU/CSU alliance was down to 28 percent, while the Greens rose one point to 21 percent.

Member comments

    1. Totally agree. To me, he is all mouth & trousers, as we used to say. His handling of the Corona crisis in the NRW has been terrible – he’d make speaches about what he was doing & achieving, but the truth was frquently the exact opposite. In all honestly, I am worried for Germany if he gets to be Chancellor.

  1. There is no statesmanship in Armin Laschet, none whatsoever. He is just a parochial politician made good by the abscence of decent competition within his burocratic party and the irresponsible tendency in the German media to think him a “nice guy” because he is not confrontational. I see in him, only a mediocre politician on the make. A Francois Hollande for Germany.

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Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin