BERLIN - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday promised a new package of measures, including tax relief, to help people struggling with rising energy bills as a result of a gas standoff with Russia.
"Citizens can count on us not to abandon them," Scholz told journalists in Berlin.
An energy transition towards renewables is a top priority, and Germany will not slow its efforts to become independent of fossil fuels, he said at a summer news conference, an annual tradition introduced by his predecessor Angela Merkel.
Europe has plunged into an energy crisis as Russia cut gas flows following its invasion of Ukraine in February. Scholz's government has introduced an energy levy to ease the strain for companies buckling under high gas prices, and is combining that with relief measures for struggling households.
Asked whether rising prices could trigger social unrest, Scholz said: "No, I don't think that we will see unrest in this country in this form, on the grounds that Germany is a welfare state... This welfare state has to take effect in this situation by way of saying that we will not leave anybody alone."
(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, Paul Carrel, Rachel More and Sabine Siebold; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Maria Sheahan)