A change in circumstances does not generally entitle the parties to cancel the contract or to neglect the performance. Non-performance of the contract is only available where it becomes impossible to perform the contract.
Force majeure is an unpredictable and surprising event, which prevents a party’s performance in accordance with the agreement. Force majeure is always an event which cannot be prepared for in advance. Force majeure is e.g. war, natural catastrophes and prohibitions and orders given by the authorities.
A party is not usually obligated to compensate the damages due to force majeure. However, the parties may agree on consequences of force majeure. Often parties agree for example, that the party has a right to terminate the agreement, if force majeure continues e.g. more than six months.
Contracts often include a provision to this effect, a so called force majeure clause. Force majeure may, however, be raised even if there is no provision to this effect in the contract.