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Germany: Landmark Euthanasia Ruling

(June 28, 2010) The Second Criminal Division of the Federal Court of Justice (FCJ), Germany's highest civil court, ruled on June 25, 2010, that in certain cases it is not a criminal offense to terminate the life support system of a consenting, terminally ill patient. The Court acquitted a lawyer who had been convicted in […]

Germany: Contributions to European Financial Stability

(June 1, 2010) On May 7, 2010, Germany's President signed into law the Act on the Providing of Loan Guarantees to Support the Solvency of the Hellenic Republic Required to Maintain Financial Stability Within the Currency Union (BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 537). Through this Act, Germany promises to provide a total of €22.4 billion (about US$27.5 […]

Germany: Social Security Contributions

(Dec. 1, 2009) On November 11, 2009, the German Federal Minister for Labor and Social Issues promulgated the 2010 contribution rate for the statutory old-age pension system. (Bekanntmachung der Beitragssätze in der allgemeinen Rentenversicherung und der knappschaftlichen Rentenversicherung für das Jahr 2010, BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 3705.) In 2010, the general contribution rate for old age […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Upholds Free Speech Restriction in Banning Public Support of Former Nazi Regime

(Nov. 20, 2009) In a ruling issued on November 4, 2009, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court (CC) upheld legislation against incitement to hatred that bans public support and justification of the country's former Nazi regime. The recent decision was based on a challenge brought before the CC against a ruling of the Federal Administrative Court, to […]

Germany: Intelligence May Not Be Kept from Parliament

(Aug. 5, 2009) On July 30, 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that the government intelligence service (BND) may not withhold information from the legislature, unless there is a good cause presented in a detailed explanation. (Federal Constitutional Court website [in English], http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/en/index.html (last visited Aug. 3, 2009; text of ruling not yet […]

Germany: Law on “Bad Banks” Adopted to Help Clear Toxic Assets

(July 15, 2009) On July 10, 2009, the upper house of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) approved a bill enabling the creation of “bad banks” to help the country's commercial and state-owned banks recover from the domestic and global financial crisis. The Law on Further Development of Financial Stabilization (Das Gesetz zur Fortentwicklung der Finanzmarktstabilisierung), […]

European Union; Germany: Three Treaty Violations Alleged

(July 7, 2009) On June 25, 2009, the European Commission accused Germany of violating the EU Treaty in three cases. Proceedings that may end up in the European Court of Justice have been initiated; depending on the outcome, Germany might be subject to significant fines. (Ruth Berschens, EU Takes Germany to Court over Three Violations […]

Germany: Immigration Law Reform Eases Hiring of Highly Qualified Aliens

(Apr. 9, 2009) On January 1, 2009, a Worker Migration Control Act (Gesetz zur arbeitsmarktadequaten Steuerung der Zuwanderung Hochqualifizierter und zur Änderung weiterer aufenthaltsrechtlicher Regelungen (Arbeitsmigrationssteuerungsgesetz), Dec. 20, 2008, BUNDESGESETZBLATT [BGBl] I at 2846) became effective, making it easier for German employers to hire highly qualified aliens. The Act amends section 19 of the Residence […]

Germany: Inheritance Tax Reform

(Mar. 25, 2009) As of January 1, 2009, a reform of inheritance tax legislation in Germany exempts family homes and business enterprises from taxation under certain circumstances (Gesetz zur Reform des Erbschaftsteuer- und Schenkungsteuergesetz, Dec. 31, 2008, BUNDESGESETZBLATT [BGBl.] I at 3018, § 13, available at http://bundesrecht.juris.de/erbstg_1974/BJNR109330974.html), while increasing the inheritance tax on real property […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Decision on Electronic Voting

(Mar. 25, 2009) On March 3, 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court issued a decision that may prevent the use of electronic voting machines in future German elections. (Bundesverfassungsgericht, Docket Nos. 2 BvC 3/07 & 2 BvC 4/07, http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/entscheidungen/cs20090303_2bvc000307.html (last visited Mar. 23, 2009); Press Release No. 19/2009, Federal Constitutional Court, Use of Voting Computers in […]