‘Cheat’ Hahn faces fresh pressure

The thesis of Austria’s European Commissioner for Regional Policy is to be examined once more after an expert claimed that substantial parts were plagiarised.Stefan Weber – who made a name for himself by exposing plagiarism in dissertations – said last week that Johannes Hahn cheated creating “at least 17.2 per cent” 254-page philosophy thesis from 1987.Weber was commissioned by Green Party MP Peter Pilz to investigate the People’s Party (ÖVP) politician’s work after it got the all-clear by a Swiss expert assigned by Vienna University in 2007.Referring to Weber’s findings, Pilz said: “It seems that Hahn cheated. (…) He should resign decently.”Now Vienna University announced it decided to have another look at the dissertation. Austria’s biggest higher education establishment revealed one expert has already started checking the thesis which investigates “perspectives of philosophy today.”The university explained it contacted several international scientists to examine Hahn’s work, but admitted it has experienced difficulties winning experts to deal with the issue. “The thesis is extraordinarily long and refers to some literature hard to get hold of,” Vienna University announced today (Fri).The university promised not to ignore the result of Weber’s investigation. It said a result could be expected for autumn.Hahn has called the activities of Pilz considering his thesis as “politically motivated” and stressed that his dissertation had been found to be faultless by experts in the past.Hahn headed the ÖVP’s department in Vienna before he became federal science minister in 2007. He was chosen to represent Austria in the European Commission (EC) last year.