Combating terrorism requires greater cooperation and intelligence-sharing between European and Arab nations, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said, according to a statement released Monday. Her comments were reportedly made ahead of a ministerial summit in Brussels, which is also being attended by the Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi.
“I've always said it is not an issue between Europe or the West and Islam. Terrorism and terrorist attacks are targeting most of all Muslims in the world so we need an alliance, we need a dialogue there to face the issue together,” Mogherini reportedly said. “We need to share information more, we need to cooperate more also among member states on the security level and we'll discuss that.”
The summit, which will be attended by foreign ministers from 28 EU nations, comes less than two weeks after attacks by militants, allegedly belonging to al Qaeda, led to the deaths of 17 people in Paris. Following the attacks, security has been beefed up across Europe. Last week, two people were killed and over 20 were arrested in a series of anti-terror raids in the Belgian city of Verviers, according to media reports.
Mogherini also said on Monday that the EU will appeal against a court ruling, delivered in December last year, declaring that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group in control of the Gaza Strip, should be removed from the EU’s terror list.
“The 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,” Mogherini said. “The council has now decided to challenge some of the findings of the court … As a result of the appeal, the effects of the Judgment are suspended until a final judgment is rendered by the Court of Justice.”
Reacting to the announcement, Hamas reportedly condemned the EU’s decision as “immoral.”
“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,” a Hamas spokesperson told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “It provides Israel with the cover for its crimes against the Palestinian people.”
Hamas was put on the list after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S. carried out by al Qaeda. The EU’s decision to appeal the court’s ruling reportedly comes after the U.S. urged the bloc to retain its sanctions on the Palestinian Islamist group.