"The EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organization," European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said. The EU General Court's decision to remove Hamas from the terrorist list, she said, ''is a legal ruling, and not a political decision taken by EU governments.''
The EU General Court ruled Wednesday that the decision to list Hamas on the 2001 terrorist list was not based on "acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities, but on factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet."
Freezes on Hamas' funds will remain in place for three months in case of any appeal, according to the Luxembourg-based general court.
''The EU institutions are studying carefully the ruling and will decide on the options open to them,'' a statement by the European Union External Action Service said. ''They will, in due course, take appropriate remedial action, including any eventual appeal to the ruling. In case of an appeal the restrictive measures remain in place.''
In December 2001, the European Council -- made up of representatives of the 28 member countries -- adopted a terrorist list requiring freezing of the funds of those people and entities listed. Hamas opposed the measures, which kept it on the list.
The General Court of the European Union’s decision to lift Hamas from the terrorist list came a few hours before the European Parliament voted Wednesday for a nonbinding resolution calling for recognition of Palestine as a state, based on peace talks that include Israel.