The European Union (EU) is to appeal a decision by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg last December to remove Hamas from its official terrorist organization blacklist, according to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday.
In a meeting on Monday, foreign ministers from the 28 EU-member states decided "to appeal the judgement regarding Hamas remaining on the EU terrorist list," spokeswoman Susanne Kiefer said, reports AFP.
Mogherini stated "this ruling was clearly based on procedural grounds and did not imply any assessment by the court of the merits of designating the Hamas as a terrorist organization."
The decision to remove Hamas from the list was said to have been the result of a "technicality," with it being claimed that the group's inclusion in the list was against EU procedures and without sufficient evidence.
Hamas was added to the terror list in 2003 following a push by Israel and the US to have the radical Islamist terror group – whose charter pledges to destroy Israel and calls for a genocide against the Jewish people – recognized as such in Europe.
According to the court, Hamas's inclusion was based largely on articles in the press as opposed to legal judgments. Hamas's lawyer Liliane Glock responded saying she was "satisfied with the decision," and the organization hailed it as a "victory."
In response to the decision to appeal Hamas's removal from the list, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP "the European Union's insistence on keeping Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations is an immoral step, and reflects the EU's total bias in favor
of the Israeli occupation."
He added "it provides it (Israel) with the cover for its crimes against the Palestinian people."
Reportedly the cause for Hamas's removal was due to EU terror list rules requiring new information every six months to reevaluate terrorist standing. Apparently classified intelligence had not been used as proof due to fears of tipping off Hamas, and instead news reports were submitted.
Hamas's assets remained frozen despite the decision, and EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen tried to reassure Israel that the move was merely "procedural," and that nothing has changed in regard to Europe's perceptions of Hamas.
The same day of the court ruling to remove Hamas from the terrorist list, the European Parliament also overwhelmingly voted “in principle” to recognize Palestinian Arab statehood as an outcome of peace talks.