Greece has defaulted on a €1.5 billion (about $1.7 billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is the largest national default in history, and the first time a country with a ‘developed economy’ has ever defaulted on an IMF loan.
The Greek government, following decades of economic mismanagement and corruption, was hard-hit by the worldwide banking and economic collapse in 2008. It fell into a serious debt crisis in 2009, and subsequently received several bailouts and loans from the IMF and the European Union (E.U.). The Greek people, however, balked at stringent ‘austerity’ cuts in government spending imposed upon the nation by its creditors.
Greece’s refusal to accept any terms that would improve its long-term economic viability in return for additional bailout funding has made it unable to make its scheduled debt payments.
As its deadline loomed, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Syriza) suddenly announced that he would put the most recent European bailout offer to a national referendum, and has encouraged his countrymen to vote against it. A ‘no’ vote is likely to result in Greece being expelled from the Eurozone currency union. As the Greek economy continues to destabilize, its government has closed all banks and limited cash withdrawals to €60 (about $67) per person per day.