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The European Union must avoid locking itself into years of dependence on fossil fuels as it races to replace Russian oil and gas with supplies from other countries, 11 former EU policy chiefs have said in a letter to the bloc's current leadership.

The European Commission will this month unveil plans to end Europe's reliance on Russian energy, which are expected to expand renewable energy faster while encouraging the urgent replacement of Russian gas with alternative supplies.

"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," the former officials said in a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans, dated Tuesday and seen by Reuters.

Rather than locking in long-term oil and gas reliance, Brussels needs an emergency plan to drastically reduce fossil fuel use in line with climate change goals, the letter said, urging energy savings, massively expanding wind and solar farms, and incentives for businesses to switch to low-carbon technologies and train workers in new green jobs.

[Kate Abnett]

More: EU warned against swapping Russian gas for more fossil fuels 

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