In retrospect, it would have been “definitely better” if she had mentioned the source in her book, according to Baerbock in an interview with the South German newspaper (payer, see also Tagesspiegel). She had previously indicated that she had not written a scientific book and therefore no footnotes were included in the book. It was written with the help of others, she said in previous interviews, and based on transcripts of Baerbock’s lengthy conversations with a publicist.
His party, the Greens, initially rejected the accusations of slander. Baerbock himself hired a lawyer to defend himself. In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, she now says that she consciously used publicly available sources, especially when it came to facts. “But I take criticism seriously.”
Plagiarism hunters have since uncovered dozens of passages they allegedly copied from other work. One of them concerns a scientific study by the environmental think tank Agora Energiewende. He owns self-declared that this is not plagiarism and that it is good that Baerbock talks about the think tank climate concept in his book. The discussion around her book includes whether she infringed copyright. This should be decided by a judge, but then a complaint must first be filed and, to our knowledge, none of the authors or organizations whose passages she used have done so.
That plagiarism allegations cause such a stir is linked to the fall of several German ministers
The fact that accusations of plagiarism in Germany are causing such a stir is linked to the downfall of a number of German politicians in recent years. Under Merkel’s Chancellery, three ministers had to resign as plagiarism hunters examined their theses: Defense Minister Zu Guttenberg (CSU) in 2011, Education and Science Minister Schavan (CDU) in 2013 and most recently Minister of Families Giffey (SPD). But they plagiarized their thesis. Baerbock has written a non-fiction book that is not subject to the same scientific standards as a thesis. The reason why German politicians want a doctorate so much is that in Germany, much more than in the Netherlands, it also gives political prestige. It is then lucrative to cheat with it.
The plagiarism allegations against Baerbock followed further criticism, due to neglect of her CV and Christmas bonuses from her party that she should have reported to the Bundestag. No major mistakes, but together they damage its reputation. Baerbock pleads in the Süddeutsche Zeitung for fair conduct in the election campaign. She herself first fell back “into old trenches” after the accusations, she admitted, but she wants to lead a campaign “tough and clear in content, but fair in tone and open to arguments” .
Baerbock now receives support from SPD party leader Scholz and Interior Minister Seehofer (CSU)
Party leader Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen now receives support from SPD party leader Scholz and Interior Minister Seehofer (CSU), among others. Scholz finds that dealing with Baerbock “is not fair”. Equal treatment of men and women is “a long way to go and you can see it in the election campaign”. according to the SPD member. Shortly after Baerbocks’ announcement Candidacy for Chancellor conservative critics have questioned whether she could become chancellor as a mother of two young children. Seehofer previously described Baerbock’s continued criticism as exaggerated. CDU / CSU-Chancellor candidate Laschet said on Wednesday he did not want to comment on the discussion on Baerbock’s book and called for substantive political debate.