A Generation to Descend Mount Everest of Debt: OECD

The debt crisis facing the developed world is big and will take a generation to resolve, Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the OECD, told CNBC Thursday.

“We are coming down from the Mount Everest of debt and it will take time, give them time,” Gurria in an exclusive interview when asked about the problems facing Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

While supporting the efforts of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to ring-fence the crisisin Greece, Gurria said people had to be careful of talking us into a corner on restructuring, which he believes is by no means certain.

What he is clear on is that debt levels across the developed world will need to come down at some point.

“Debt sustainability, fiscal consolidation, the reduction of debts, these are steps that need to be taken,” Gurria said.

“In two, three or four years we will have to start addressing the actual level of debt,” he added.

“It will take a generation to solve the problem,” Gurria, who also warned this would need to be achieved at a time when ageing populations would become a bigger burden on government spending, warned. “This is the legacy we leave our children.”