Greece: Who wants what and why

The guessing game over the outcome of Greece's attempts to resolve its debt dilemma and stay in the euro zone looks set to continue, with another euro zone summit slated for Monday.

It can be difficult to discern what the different parties want from the tense negotiations – which is why plenty of people have been relying on the old national stereotypes of inflexible Germany versus flighty Greece.

Here, we break down what we know about the different demands.

The Greek government

Elected on an anti-austerity platform, the new Greek government needs to deliver on at least some of its promises soon. These include: revisions to the cuts which are hitting Greece's citizens hard; a "bridge program" to buy time to negotiate a new debt deal and greater flexibility on the existing conditions of its international bailout, such as its budget targets.


As Greece's biggest international creditor, Germany has understandably been the most concerned about the potential for "moral hazard" from changes to the current Greek bailout program.

Its politicians want Greece to stay a part of the euro zone project, and there are increasing concerns about the cost to Germany if it leaves – a Bild Zeitung story this week estimated the cost at 63 billion euro ($71 billion). Yet can they sell concessions to the electorate?

Other European countries…

…appear to be slightly more in favor of some concessions to the new Greek leadership – such as a technical extension to the existing program -- than the Germans. Some of the most important leaders are also facing challenges to their governments from anti-austerity movements.

There is also the question of whether other bailed-out countries, such as Ireland and Portugal, should be given concessions if Greece is granted them.


The International Monetary Fund has stayed diplomatic in public, as is usual. Christine Lagarde, its managing director, has said the Greek officials are "competent" and "intelligent" – but highlighted that any agreement would take time.

Russia and China

To use an apt German phrase: schadenfreude.

Russia and China lose nothing from statements that they could help out struggling Greece, and could gain if negotiations with other countries are made more difficult as a result.

Greece may inch forward in negotiations following claims like those of Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, who has ties to Russian businessmen, that it could seek help from these Russia and China. However, much like in Cyprus, a Russian bailout is unlikely to materialize from this particular hot air.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle