Merkel under fire from own ranks over coalition deal with centre-left Feb 09, 2018 0 81 12345 AFPBERLINIRE is growing among German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives over a coalition deal they say sells out their interests, packed with painful concessions to the centre-left to ensure a fourth term for the veteran leader.With the weakened Social Democrats (SPD) claiming six ministries and Merkel's conservative CDU ceding the interior brief to their Bavarian allies,"Merkel has gifted the government to the SPD"in the name of clinging on to office, influential daily Bild charged on Thursday."The way the cabinet is now set up is a political mistake,"CDU MP Christian von Stetten said bluntly on ARD public television.It is rare to hear such outright criticism of the party chief from the ranks of Merkel's conservatives, traditionally united as much behind leaders as policies. But Stetten was not alone in his disquiet.Merkel had brought home a"miserable"result from coalition talks, the head of the CDU's business council Wolfgang Steiger told regional newspaper Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung.Wednesday's pact saw two parties weakened in September elections reluctantly agree to renew their left-right"grand coalition"or"GroKo".If approved in a postal ballot of SPD members in the coming weeks, it will mark the third time the two parties that dominated decades of German postwar politics as opponents have been yoked together under Merkel's leadership since 2005.Media spotlights for weeks glared on the centre-left's internal debate on whether to back the chancellor yet again.Now"some in the CDU leadership will be relieved that they haven't arranged their own vote by members,"Munich-based daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung quipped.Merkel's flagship concession to the SPD was the finance ministry, previously a lever of control over the government under balanced-budget champion Wolfgang Schaeuble.One of Schaeuble's top priorities was upholding conservatives'view of German interests in Brussels, pushing for strict adherence to European Union debt and deficit rules and rejecting increased flows of cash between member states.With the ministry falling to the much more pro-EU SPD,"Germany is slipping deeper into responsibility for debts run up in other countries using the euro", business council chief Steiger lamented.The agreement struck on Wednesday proposes more EU budget contributions and is cautiously open to French President Emmanuel Macron's proposals for a joint eurozone budget.Merkel's cabinet roster also includes gaps where observers might look for rising stars of her party, ready to make their mark during what is expected to be her final term.There is no ministry for young and ambitious CDU board member Jens Spahn, or for Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the state premier of tiny Saarland viewed as a potential successor to the chancellor."The preliminary list of CDU ministers is not a very inspiring read... Merkel's fourth cabinet already looks tired before it's even certain whether it will come to be,"commented Spiegel magazine's online edition. Neither have conservatives brought home trophies in the shape of policy red meat they can throw to a hungry base.As well as securing three cabinet posts, the Bavarian CSU pressed through a mild form of its long-desired annual limit on refugee arrivals, ahead of a regional election later this year. And the SPD wrung out concessions on labour law and healthcare on top of the six ministries. POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Soros donation to halt Brexit causes storm in Britain Feb 09, 2018 0 97 France commits to boosting defence spending by 35% over six years Feb 09, 2018 0 380 EU lawmakers want review of summer clock switch Feb 09, 2018 0 78 Popular French minister denies sex harassment rumours AFP PARIS France's environment minister Nicolas Hulot furiously fended off rumours of sexual harassment on Thursday two weeks after another member of President Emmanuel Macron's cabinet was accused of rape. .. Spain pledges Brexit won't change daily Gibraltar life AFP MADRID SPAIN'S foreign minister pledged on Thursday that daily life in Gibraltar would not be affected by Brexit, easing fears that Madrid would use Britain's exit from the EU to gain authority over the .. Hungarian police investigate fraud in EU-funded projects REUTERS BUDAPEST Hungarian prosecutors have launched an investigation into European Union-funded projects investigated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and run by a company once controlled by the .. No evidence of Russian interference in Brexit referendum, says YouTube REUTERS WASHINGTON YouTube found no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum, a senior executive told a British parliamentary committee inquiry into fake news. Britain's Digital, Media, ..