Le Monde: Romanian government shaken by plagiarism
The prestigious French daily Le Monde recently published an article detailing the plagiarism cases that have loomed over the current Romanian government.
The article begins with the latest high-ranking politician accused of plagiarism, interior minister Lucian Bode. Back in 2018, he presented a thesis on Romania's energy security at the University of Cluj. Upon being named minister, Bode refused to provide access to his thesis. The university evaded questions, saying that his work was published already – but no trace of it could be found.
A university commission eventually reviewed his doctoral thesis and noted that only around 3% of it was plagiarized. Bode welcomed the decision right away, but an independent media outlet PressOne got hold of the thesis and revealed that 65 out of the 194 pages had been copied.
The university relaunched its checks, and finally confirmed the accusations of plagiarism, saying that “the thesis has been deeply tainted by ethical shortcomings.” Unimpressed, the minister filed a lawsuit against the university – and lost. Bode still argues that the accusations are politically motivated.
The current interior minister is not the only one to have faced accusations of plagiarism. “In November 2021, Florin Roman, Romania's minister for research, innovation, and digitalization, had to resign from his position after an inquiry by investigative journalist Emilia Sercan uncovered plagiarism in his thesis,” the Le Monde article says. “Sorin Cimpeanu, education minister, also resigned for the same reason.”
Le Monde highlights the fact that Romania’s PM, Nicolae Ciucă, has also been accused of plagiarizing his doctoral thesis. “This 55-year-old general was supposed to lead Romania with an iron hand […] but Emilia Șercan, a self-proclaimed ‘plagiarism hunter,’ became interested in the thesis of the government's military science.” She found that 42 out of the 138 pages in his thesis were plagiarized, tarnishing the general’s image of honesty.
Plagiarism is not confined by party lines in Romania. After eight years of dragged-out procedures, authorities took the title of doctor from former social democratic leader Victor Ponta, showing that he had plagiarized his thesis.
Backed into a corner, those accused of plagiarism fought back. “To protect themselves, politicians succeeded in June 2022 to obtain a decision of the Constitutional Court which prohibits universities from withdrawing the title of doctor in case of plagiarism. According to the high legal authority, a plagiarized thesis can only be canceled by a legal process,” the article says.
Meanwhile, the small, reformist, opposition party USR accuses president Iohannis, a former high school teacher, of being complicit.
(Photo source: George Calin | Inquam Photos)