EU terrorist list
Sanctions: how and when the EU adopts restrictive measures
The EU adopts sanctions or restrictive measures to achieve the goals of its foreign policy
As part of its response against terrorism after the attacks of 11 September 2001, in December that year the European Union established a list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts and subject to restrictive measures. Set down in common position 2001/931/CFSP, these were additional measures adopted in order to implement UN Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). The list includes persons and groups active both within and outside the EU. It is reviewed regularly, and at least every 6 months.
This regime is separate from the EU regime implementing UN Security Council resolution 1989 (2011) on the freezing of funds of persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban (including ISIL/Da'esh).
Restrictive measures applied
Common position 2001/931/CFSP lays down the criteria for listing persons, groups and entities. It identifies the actions that constitute terrorist acts for these purposes, and defines the restrictive measures to be applied. These restrictive measures are:
- measures related to freezing of funds and financial assets
- measures related to police and judicial cooperation
Following the signing of the Colombia peace agreement on 26 September 2016, the Council suspended the application of EU restrictive measures against the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).
The persons, groups and entities in this list are subject to both the freezing of funds and other financial assets, as well as enhanced measures related to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Council regulation 2580/2001 provides for the freezing of all funds and other financial assets belonging to these persons, groups and entities. In addition, no funds, financial assets and economic resources can be made available to them, directly or indirectly. These are all non-EU persons or entities.
A second group of persons and entities on the list are subject only to enhanced measures related to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. These are all EU persons or entities.
Criteria for listing
The common position establishes that the list will be drawn up from precise information indicating that a decision has been taken by a judicial or equivalent competent authority in respect of the person, group or entity concerned. This decision may concern:
- initiation of investigations or prosecution for a terrorist act or an attempt to carry out or facilitate such an act
- condemnation for any of those actions
Persons, groups and entities identified by the UN Security Council as being related to terrorism and against whom it has ordered sanctions may also be included in the list.
Procedure for listing and delisting
The Council reviews the list at regular intervals and at least every 6 months. In addition to this regular review, the Council can, at any time, adopt a decision on listing or delisting of persons, groups and entities.
Proposal for listing/delisting
Persons groups and entities can be included on the list on the basis of proposals submitted by member states or third states. A request for delisting can be made by listed persons, groups and entities, by a member state or by the third state which had originally proposed the listing.
Examination by working party
The Working Party on implementation of Common Position 2001/931/CFSP on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism (CP931 working party) examines and evaluates information with a view to listing and delisting. It then makes recommendations to the Council.
Approval by the Council
The Council adopts the changes to the list, which are published in the Official Journal. For each person, group and entity subject to the restrictive measures under Council regulation 2580/2001 (freezing of funds and financial assets), the Council also provides a statement of reasons making clear how the criteria for listing have been met.
General Court case: Hamas
In September 2010, Hamas brought its case before the General Court, challenging its continued presence on the EU terrorist list. In December 2014, the General Court annulled on procedural grounds the Council's decision to maintain Hamas on this list.
At its foreign affairs meeting on 19 January 2015, the Council decided to appeal against the judgment of the General Court in the case Council v Hamas. During the appeal process, the effect of the General Court judgement is suspended.
After a listing decision has been taken by the Council, each person, group and entity subject to restrictive measures under Council regulation 2580/2001 is informed either by a letter of notification, where possible, or by publication of a notice in the Official Journal.
What options are open to a listed person, group or entity?
Persons, groups and entities included in the list can:
- request the Council to reconsider the case, on the basis of supporting documentation
- challenge the decision of the national competent authority according to national procedures
- if subject to restrictive measures under Council regulation 2580/2001, challenge the Council's decision before the General Court