By NewsGram Staff Writer
Hours after eurozone ministers refused to extend its bailout, Greece has missed the deadline for a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The failure in payment was confirmed by the IMF on Tuesday at around 22:00 Greenwich Mean Time(GMT).
With the loan default, Greece becomes the first advanced country to fail to repay a loan to the IMF and is now formally in arrears.
Greece no longer has access to billions of euros in funds and there are concerns that the default could put Greece at risk of leaving the euro.
“We have informed our Executive Board that Greece is now in arrears and can only receive IMF financing once the arrears are cleared,” said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice.
Earlier, Eurogroup chairman and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said it would be “crazy” to extend the Greek bailout beyond its Tuesday midnight expiration after Athens refused to accept the European proposals on the table.
“A Greek request for a new €29.1bn European aid programme would be considered later”, the minister added after the conference call with other eurozone ministers.
One of Greece’s “troika” of creditors along with the IMF and the eurozone’s European Central Bank, the European Commission wants Athens to raise taxes and cut welfare spending to meet its debt obligations.
Meanwhile, amid fears of a Greek default on its huge public debt of €323bn, people have queued at cash machines but the withdrawals have been capped at just €60 a day.
However, up to 1,000 bank branches will re-open from Wednesday to allow pensioners – many of whom do not use bank cards – to withdraw up to €120.
The announcements come after talks between Greece and its creditors broke down earlier this week.
Following the breakdown of talks, demonstrations–some calling for a “yes” and others urging a “no” vote to the referendum over agreeing to creditors proposals–have been held by the pro-European and pro-Greece protesters outside the Greek parliament in Athens.