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Luxembourg PM admits faults in thesis plagiarism row

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Wednesday admitted he should have acted "differently" after accusations he plagiarised swathes of his university thesis.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel addresses media representatives as he arrives on the second day of a European Union (EU) summit at The European Council Building in Brussels on October 22, 2021. (Photo by JOHANNA GERON / POOL / AFP)

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Wednesday admitted he should have acted “differently” after accusations he plagiarised swathes of his university thesis.

Local outlet reporter.lu claimed the liberal leader — in power for eight years — lifted “three quarters” of his 1999 thesis at France’s University of Nancy.

Bettel, 48, pointed out in a statement that the thesis was done “over 20 years ago” and insisted he “wrote this work with a clear conscience”.

“Today, I recognise that I could have — yes, perhaps I should have — done it differently”, Bettel admitted.

He said it was up to the university to determine if the work met its standards and that he would “naturally accept its decision”.

The plagiarism row is the latest to hit a high-profile European politician and similar allegations have forced the resignations of a number of ministers in neighbouring Germany.

The most recent scalp was German family minister Franziska Giffey, who stepped down in May this year over claims she plagiarised her doctoral thesis.

Reporter.lu said that Bettel’s 56-page thesis on European Parliament election reforms contained unattributed chunks throughout taken from two books, four websites and a press report.

The scandal dominated online media headlines in the Grand Duchy of 600,000 people but so far the opposition has not weighed in on the issue.

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