Bulgarian government officials announced on Friday that they won’t push to have the European Union classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, despite recent findings, announced in February, that Hezbollah was responsible for last summer’s bus bombing in Burgas. which is located near the Black Sea.
Five Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed in the attack.
Bulgaria's interim prime minister, Marin Raukov, said that “Bulgaria will not initiate an EU procedure for blacklisting persons and organizations” on Friday during a farewell ceremony for the visiting Lebanese ambassador, according to the A.P.
However, Bulgaria said it will hand over all evidence collected in the investigation into the attack, the A.P. said, and will continue further with its the investigation.
A blacklisted status as a terrorist organization would severely hurt Hezbollah’s operations by hampering donors’ ability to provide the group with funds and materials. “It [the terrorist designation] would have an impact on Hezbollah, but it depends on how the designation is done," Matthew Levitt, director of the counterterrorism program at the Washington Institute, told the International Business Times in December when the investigation was ongoing. "It would be more effective if the EU were to classify the entire organization."
"Obviously if the Europeans feel that the proof is decisive, then they'll have to confront the fact that Hezbollah carried out an attack in Europe," Daniel Benjamin, a former U.S. State Department operative, told the Jerusalem Post around the same time.
Despite the decisive evidence that emerged, the E.U. is still resistant. The Times of Israel reported that many Bulgarian opposition groups may be concerned that a blacklist could expose Bulgaria to more attacks.
The U.S., Israel, Canada, Egypt, the Netherlands and most recently Bahrain all list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Britain and Australia have blacklisted its military wing. The U.S. and Israel have repeatedly pushed and pressured the E.U. to blacklist Hezbollah.