In 1991, a youthful Frank-Walter Steinmeier was attending Giessen University....working on a doctorial degree in economics. To finish up the whole process....he had to write a thesis. His topic? Tradition and perspectives of state intervention for the prevention and elimination of homelessness.
It was a decent thesis by university standards in 1991, and got him his doctor's degree. Frank goes on.....moving up in politics, and eventually in the last decade.....becoming a big player of the SPD in Germany.
Well....over the past couple of years....various folks have come out to review thesis products of conservative politicians. You had to expect some idiot to waste weeks of time looking at liberal politicians eventually. Steinmeier is now the focus of such a review.
In fact, it's to the point that a computer hints of 500 awkward notes in the thesis presented....which lead the university to a full-up review. Tomorrow (Monday).....the university will sit down and present it's case so far to Frank and ask for his comments.
Expectations? It's hard to say what happens. The university could make a determination in the months ahead to revoke his degree. For a fifty-year old guy....this is the kiss-of-death in Germany. Your respect, your past, your future, and your top tier of associates....all fall into a problem area. They could come to an agreement that some errors exist, but not enough to take the degree away, which does some personal harm to his character but at leaves him with the title of "doctor".
Steinmeier rose to one of the five top SPD political players over the past decade. He's likely sitting there and questioning how this stupid thesis that he wrote....comes back twenty years later to be a major problem. As for this meeting? Steinmeier will have to pull out the old thesis, spend weeks reviewing how he wrote back in 1991.....and to argue the finer points that it's all within the range of being acceptable.
Meanwhile, the SPD is sitting there and wondering if there are other political figures with thesis-type degrees, and if they are under review. When they opened this tactic five years ago....they probably never anticipated it being a mess for themselves to clean up.