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Switzerland: Extended Deportation of Criminal Foreigners Rejected

(Mar. 7, 2016) On February 28, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 58.9% to 41.1% the “Enforcement Initiative.” The initiative proposed the automatic deportation of foreigners who committed certain crimes, regardless of the imposed penalty. Foreigners are defined as persons who do not hold Swiss passports. (Volksinitiative “Zur Durchsetzung der Ausschaffung krimineller Ausländer“ […]

Germany: Federal Court of Justice Classifies Liquids for E-Cigarettes as Tobacco Products

(Feb. 23, 2016) On December 23, 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof (BGH)) held that the nicotine-containing liquids used in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) qualify as tobacco products and that their distribution and sale without a permit are therefore illegal. (BGH, Dec. 23, 2015, 2 StR 525/13, BGH website (in German).) According to the Court, it […]

Germany: Proposed Tightening of Asylum Rules

(Feb. 8, 2016) On February 3, 2016, the German government agreed on a set of stricter asylum measures (“Asylum Package II”). The Asylum Package II would accelerate the asylum application process; suspend family reunification for refugees with subsidiary protection status for a period of two years; decrease asylees’ monthly cash benefits; facilitate deportation; establish a […]

Austria: Newly Proposed Measures on Asylum and Refugees

(Feb. 5, 2016) On January 20, 2016, the Austrian Federation and the Austrian states, as well as the municipalities and cities, came to an understanding on an upper limit of 127,500 refugees that will be allowed to apply for asylum in Austria over the course of the next four years. If implemented into binding legislation, […]

Switzerland: Referendum on Sovereign Money Will Go to a Vote

(Jan. 20, 2016) On December 24, 2015, the Swiss Government announced that a proposed referendum on sovereign money had achieved the required 100,000 number of signatures to be put to a vote. In a sovereign money system, all physical and electronic money is created by the central bank and the commercial banks act only as […]

Germany: Parliament Debates E-Cigarettes Prohibition for Minors

(Dec. 9, 2015) On December 4, 2015, the German Bundestag (parliament) debated a draft act that would prohibit the sale to and consumption of electronic cigarettes and electronic shishas by children and adolescents under 18 years of age.  (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zum Schutz von Kindern und Jugendlichen vor den Gefahren des Konsums von elektronischen Zigaretten […]

Germany: Parliament Adopts Draft Act to Criminalize Commercial Assisted Suicide

(Dec. 1, 2015) On November 6, 2015, the German Bundestag (parliament) adopted a draft act that criminalizes commercial assisted suicide. (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Strafbarkeit der geschäftsmäßigen Förderung der Selbsttötung [Draft Act to Criminalize Commercial Assisted Suicide] (July 1, 2015), DEUTSCHER BUNDESTAG: DRUCKSACHEN UND PROTOKOLLE [BT-Drs.] 18/5373, Deutscher Bundestag website (scroll down to view text of the […]

Germany: Non-Biological Father Who Agrees to Artificial Insemination Is Liable for Child Support

(Nov. 6, 2015) On September 23, 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) held that a man who agreed to the artificial insemination of his girlfriend with another man’s donor sperm will be contractually liable for child support even though he was not married to the mother of the child and did not […]

Germany: Parliament Adopts Legislative Package on Asylum and Refugees

(Nov. 2, 2015) On October 20, 2015, the German Bundestag (parliament), with the participation of the German Bundesrat, the constitutional body through which the German states participate in the legislative process, enacted the Act on the Acceleration of Asylum Procedures. The Act amends several laws in order to accelerate the asylum process, substitute benefits in […]