EU to Appeal Ruling That Hamas Should Be Off Terror List

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -

The European Union said on Monday it would appeal against an EU court ruling that Hamas should be removed from the bloc’s terrorist list.

The move was denounced by Hamas but welcomed by Israel, which had condemned last month’s decision by the bloc’s second-highest tribunal that the executive had failed to make its case for blacklisting the Gazans.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini noted in a statement that the General Court made its ruling on procedural grounds. As a result of the appeal, Hamas will remain on the EU’s terrorism list and its assets will remain frozen pending a judgment by the Court of Justice, the highest legal authority.

The General Court found that the decision to sanction Hamas was based on media reports, not considered analysis.

The EU will challenge the General Court’s finding that the EU must provide evidence that Hamas remains a terrorist group when it updates its terror list, as well as the argument that the EU cannot use evidence from the internet, an EU official said.

Mogherini said the EU was studying “other appropriate remedial actions” it could take to avoid similar court decisions in the future when removing groups from the terrorism list.

“Israel welcomes the EU’s decision,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement. “The EU’s decision reflects accurately the position that Hamas was and remains a terror organization.”