Bettel’s plagiarism case

A mediocre student, but neither a liar nor a cheat

“I have not lived in fear for 22 years,” the Prime Minister said on Friday. (Photo: SIP/Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/Archives)

“I have not lived in fear for 22 years,” the Prime Minister said on Friday. (Photo: SIP/Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/Archives)

On Friday, for the first time, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel spoke about the so-called “plagiarism” affair that tainted his DEA (postgraduate diploma) work done at the University of Lorraine more than 20 years ago. A work of which he is not proud, but for which he denies having lied or cheated.

It was to be expected: during the press conference he gave on Friday with Health Minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP), Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (DP) addressed the case of the alleged plagiarism of his DEA in public law done in 1999 at the University of Lorraine. According to Reporter.lu, 96% of the pages would present, according to their analysis, gaps in the authors' citations or referencing.

Apart from a brief statement, Bettel did not comment on this event, which made few waves, but enough noise for the University of Lorraine to decide to examine what some see as a thesis. The academic conclusions are expected by the end of this year, or the beginning of the next at the latest.

The prime minister has long since drawn his own. During the conference, he confessed: “Was it s a poor job? Yes. Are there any shortcomings? Yes. Was there room for improvement? Yes.” But that's where it ends. He denies having cheated. His work, which was not original doctoral research, was supervised by his professor and subjected to the criteria of the time. He also had to defend it orally. This was explained by the professor himself. The student's final grade and academic success was the result of various elements.

A “not very glorious” work which was nevertheless judged as “satisfactory”.

“I am not proud of it. But I didn't cheat. And I didn't lie,” Bettel concluded. He reminds us once again that the criteria of the time are no longer those of the last century.

As to whether all this has had an impact on Luxembourg's image, Xavier Bettel admits that neither those he met in Glasgow nor European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel recently sought to avoid him. “I think that at the moment, I am a prime minister who is doing his job properly,” concluded Bettel.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.