WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday called on developed countries to pursue long- term policy reforms to trim public debt.
"In order to protect the fragile economic recovery, support growth and job creation and provide reassurance to capital markets, fiscal adjustment plans must be clearly defined -- but with a focus on the medium term rather than seeking a quick fix," the IMF said in a research paper.
"Public debt levels among advanced economies have reached levels not seen before in the absence of a major war," said Carlo Cottarelli, Director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department.
General government debt in the G20 advanced economies surged from 78 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007 to 97 percent of GDP in 2009 and is projected to rise to 115 percent of GDP in 2015, according to the IMF.
Public debt in many developed countries has ballooned during the financial crisis and economic downturn.
"High public debt is due not only to the financial crisis, but also to weak fiscal policy over the preceding decades, when debt levels ratcheted up during hard times but failed to fall in better years," said Cottarelli.
"The task ahead is all the more complicated because aging societies and global warming are putting additional pressure on public finances. This calls attention to the critical need for long-term fiscal reforms that will guarantee a gradual but sustained improvement in debt positions over the coming decades," he added.