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Germany: Desecration of EU Symbols Criminalized

(July 6, 2020) On June 24, 2020, an amendment to the German Criminal Code entered into force that makes the desecration of European Union (EU) flags and the EU hymn a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to three years or a fine. In particular, it criminalizes desecrating the EU flag or hymn publicly, in […]

Germany: Berlin Adopts Antidiscrimination Act

(June 30, 2020) On June 21, 2020, a new antidiscrimination act entered into force in the city-state of Berlin, Germany. The act, entitled the State Antidiscrimination Act, prohibits Berlin public authorities, including police and public schools and universities, from engaging in discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnic origin, racial association, religion or belief, disability, […]

European Union: Member States Adopt Technical Specifications to Ensure Interoperability of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

(June 19, 2020) On June 16, 2020, the European Union (EU) member states agreed on a set of detailed technical specifications to ensure the interoperability of national COVID-19 contact tracing apps that use a decentralized approach. Each member state must designate a technical lead who will have operational responsibility for ensuring interoperability. In addition, guidelines […]

Germany: Corona Warning App Launched

(June 18, 2020) On June 16, 2020, the German government launched the “Corona Warning App,” a voluntary mobile phone application to alert persons who have been in proximity to someone infected with COVID-19. Since its launch, the app has been downloaded by 6.5 million people. As of June 15, 2020, 186,461 people had tested positive […]

European Union: Council Adopts Temporary European Instrument “SURE” to Help Protect Jobs amid COVID-19 Pandemic

(June 16, 2020) On May 19, 2020, the Council of the European Union (Council) adopted “SURE,” a regulation establishing a European instrument to provide temporary financial support to mitigate unemployment risks caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Under SURE, the European Union (EU) will temporarily provide loans not exceeding 100 billion euros (€) (about US$113.5 billion) […]

European Union: Commission Adopts Second Amendment to Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures to Support Member States’ Economies during COVID-19 Outbreak

(June 3, 2020) On May 8, 2020, the European Commission adopted a second amendment to extend the scope of the Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures to include recapitalization measures and subordinated debt. The Temporary Framework was first adopted on March 19, 2020, allowing a variety of state aid measures otherwise incompatible with European Union […]

Switzerland: Regulation on Proximity Tracing App Pilot Adopted

(May 18, 2020) On May 13, 2020, the Swiss Federal Council­—the Swiss government—­adopted a temporary regulation that sets out rules for the organization, operation, processing of data, and use of the “Swiss Proximity-Tracing-System” (Swiss PT-System, SPTS) for the duration of the pilot project. (COVID-19 Regulation on Proximity Tracing Pilot art. 1.) The SPTS will notify people […]

Germany: Bavarian Higher Administrative Court Upholds Requirement to Wear Face Masks to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

(May 14, 2020) On May 7, 2020, the Bavarian Higher Administrative Court (Bayerischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof, BayVGH) denied a preliminary injunction against a regulation to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus adopted by the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care that, among other things, makes wearing face masks in retail stores, shopping centers, department stores, […]

Germany: First Criminal Trial Worldwide on State Torture in Syria Begins

(Apr. 30, 2020) On April 23, 2020, the first criminal trial worldwide on state torture in Syria started at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany (docket no. 1 StE 9/19). The two defendants allegedly worked for the Syrian intelligence services and are charged with crimes against humanity in numerous cases. The trial is scheduled to […]

Switzerland: Prohibition on Sexual Orientation Discrimination Will Apply Starting July 1

(Apr. 30, 2020) In its session of April 3, 2020, the Swiss Federal Council, the country’s government, decided that a prohibition on discrimination due to sexual orientation will enter into force on July 1, 2020. The necessary amendments to the Criminal Code and the Military Criminal Code had been adopted by the Swiss Parliament on December 14, […]