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Switzerland: Accelerated Nuclear Energy Exit Rejected

(Nov. 30, 2016) On November 27, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 54.2% to 45.8% the Nuclear Energy Withdrawal Initiative. (Vorlage Nr. 608, Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse [Proposal No. 608, Preliminary Official Results], Swiss Federal Chancellery website (Nov. 27, 2016).) The initiative would have accelerated Switzerland’s exit from nuclear energy use, with three plants closing in 2017, […]

Germany: Powers of Federal Intelligence Service Expanded

(Nov. 18, 2016) On November 4, 2016, the German Bundesrat, the constitutional body through which the German states participate in the legislative process, approved an act to expand the powers of the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) to gather signals intelligence from foreign targets located abroad (“foreign-foreign signals intelligence gathering”) and to cooperate with foreign […]

Germany: Heavier Sanctions Against Sexual Offenders Adopted

(Oct. 3, 2016) On September 23, 2016, the German Bundesrat, the constitutional body through which the German states participate in the legislative process, passed an amendment to the German Criminal Code that expands criminal liability relating to sexual assault, rape, and sexual harassment in order to close the existing liability gaps. (Gesetz zur Änderung des […]

Germany: Court Clarifies Requirements for Living Wills and Durable Healthcare Powers of Attorney

(Sept. 30, 2016) On July 6, 2016, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) held that a statement in a patient’s living will that “I do not wish to receive life-prolonging treatments” was not sufficient to legally bind a patient’s representative to authorize removal of an artificial feeding tube. The Court also separately found that an authorized representative of a patient can only consent to […]

Germany: Government Publishes Civil Defense Concept

(Sept. 9, 2016) On August 28, 2016, the German Federal Government published a Civil Defense Concept in which it set out a federal strategy to facilitate non-military defense measures in Germany in a national emergency such as an attack against the country or a natural disaster. (Bundesministerium des Innern [Federal Ministry of the Interior], Konzeption […]

Germany: Act to Improve Anti-Terror Information Exchange in Force

(Sept. 8, 2016) On July 30, 2016, the Act to Improve Information Exchange in the Fight Against International Terrorism entered into force in Germany. It amends several existing laws that govern anti-terrorism measures, but also equips the German domestic intelligence agency with new means to fight international terrorism, in particular with regard to information-sharing in […]

Germany: Act to Integrate Refugees Enters Into Force

(Aug. 15, 2016) On August 6, 2016, the Integration Act and the Regulation on the Integration Act entered into force in Germany. The Integration Act and the Regulation amend several laws in order to facilitate the integration of refugees into German society. The laws provide for more integration classes, vocational training, employment and training opportunities, […]

Germany: Act to Protect Cultural Property Passed

(July 19, 2016) On June 23, 2016, the German Bundestag (parliament) adopted a revised Act to Protect Cultural Property which protects certain national cultural property from being exported, restricts illegal trade in cultural goods, and facilitates the retrieval of cultural goods that were exported unlawfully. (Gesetz zur Neuregelung des Kulturgutschutzrechts [Act To Amend the Law […]

Germany: Court Recognizes Co-Mothers of Child

(July 6, 2016) On June 15, 2016, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) published a decision issued on April 20 in which it held that a South African law that awards co-motherhood to the German wife of the biological mother of a child born in a same-sex marriage has to be recognized in […]