Greece Defaults On $1.7 Billion IMF Loan

by Melissah Yang

More sad news for one of the most beautiful countries in the world. At Tuesday's close, Greece defaulted on its $1.7 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the largest payment ever missed to the organization. Greece has also become the first developed country in the world to fail at making a payment to the international coalition of 188 countries. Greece's inability to make the payment was expected, but nonetheless it's another sad blemish on the country's economic troubles.

In a statement, Gerry Rice, IMF's communication director, confirmed Greece failed to meet its financial obligations and the country is now "in arrears." Greece will no longer receive IMF financing until its payment is cleared. Rice also confirmed that Greek officials requested for an extension of its repayment, which will be considered by IMF's executive board.

In an attempt to thwart the default, Greece on Tuesday asked for a reported two-year, 29 billion euros ($32 billion) bailout from the European Central Bank. The ECB is currently debating on whether to award the third bailout in six years for the country to help keep its economy afloat. Greek banks also closed Tuesday and limited cash withdrawals to 60 euros ($67) a day for people desperate to pull funds out of their accounts in an attempt to prevent financial collapse.

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Greece is now in a huge hole with no financial support, and people have flooded the streets in recent weeks. So what does that mean for Europe? According to CNN, Greece's default won't ruin the European Union, considering the country makes up just 2 percent of the eurozone's economy.

But if Greece does leave the euro, it could still have some serious ramifications on the EU's other members and on the reputation of the group itself. The EU was established to foster a brotherhood of countries and built on claims that its currency would be "irreversible." But it's the fear of the unknown that has world leaders most concerned. Who knows what exactly will happen when a country as developed and critical in the region as Greece has an economy in the toilet?

It's another "Lehman Brothers" moment but on a much bigger scale since we're talking about an entire country tanking. Greece is set to vote Sunday on a referendum about its debt crisis and whether to accept creditors' heavily conditioned proposals. Some EU leaders claim a rejection of the proposals would mean Greece would leave the EU, though Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hopes to avoid it.

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