Luxembourg Prime Minister renounces his diploma after allegations of plagiarism


Departure of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel following a two-day summit on the European Union (EU) at the European Council building in Brussels on June 25, 2021. AFP FILE PHOTO

LUXEMBOURG — Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel announced on Tuesday that he was giving up a diploma he had obtained in 1999 after being accused of plagiarism.

Bettel said he asked the University of Lorraine in France to rescind the Masters-level degree awarded to him in 1999 “to remove any doubt about the merits of the DEA (diploma) and to avoid a loss of confidence in the academic work”.

He did not admit plagiarism and said in a statement that “it was not my intention to mislead anyone at the time”.

Accusations of plagiarism emerged in an October report by Luxembourg outlet Reporter, which said ‘more than three-quarters’ of Bettel’s 1998 thesis – on voting reform in European elections – came from unnamed sources. .

Bettel said at the time that he could not remember the specifics of what he had done decades earlier, but “I could have – and, yes, maybe I should have – done things differently” in his academic work for the degree.

The 48-year-old prime minister, who is a lawyer by training and formerly admitted to the Luxembourg bar, also holds another degree from the University of Lorraine, a master’s degree in law.

The university released its own statement saying that after an internal investigation, it asked Bettel to quickly redo its diploma essay to include “missing citations” and to adopt its current standards on referencing other work.

He said he informed Bettel of his decision on Monday.

In his statement, Bettel pointed to the university’s conclusion that he had undertaken “original work”, although he acknowledged that he had not given “separate textual references for individual passages, which may be considered “a form of plagiarism”.

“I regret this situation and ask the University to accept my apologies and my decision,” he said.

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