Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) A group of former EU officials have warned the European Commission against replacing Russian natural gas imports with new gas dependencies.
In a letter sent to the EC on Tuesday, the 11 former officials in question stressed the importance of avoiding prolonged dependence on fossil fuels, according to Reuters reporting.
Later this month, the Commission is to present its plans to wean the EU off Russian energy imports which is expected to focus on diversifying supply and speeding up investments in renewable energy.
“Simply diversifying the import of fossil fuels will only serve to maintain EU energy dependence on other countries, many of which do not respect EU values,” former officials warned in the letter to EC President Ursula von der Leyen and Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the EC for the European Green Deal.
Former officials stressed that the Commission should draw up plans to reduce the use of fossil fuels drastically and pointed out that this is necessary to achieve environmental goals.
In the letter, they call on the EC to prepare plans for massive expansion of solar and wind farms, energy savings and programmes to incentivise businesses to implement green technologies and create green jobs.
Stronger green push
Former officials stressed that the Commission should push harder for expansion of renewable energy, renovation of buildings and gradual phasing out of polluting automobiles. They pointed out that EU member states are currently negotiating these plans.
The EC previously noted that it was thinking about setting more ambitious green goals.
Moscow’s decision to stop supplying Bulgaria and Poland with natural gas last week raised concerns in the EU that other member states could be hit as well.
As Russia provides roughly 40% of the EU’s natural gas and about 26% of oil, Moscow’s attack on Ukraine prompted the bloc to look for alternative suppliers.
Former officials stressed the importance of placing time constraints on new natural gas contracts and called on the Commission not to include any gas projects in its system for labelling green investments.
Signatories of the letter include former EC President Romano Prodi, former Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard and former Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy, among others.