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What do Europe's citizens think about the common agricultural policy (CAP)? (06/2001)

The Eurobarometer opinion poll carried out for the European Commission in May and June 2001 has confirmed that public confidence in the common agricultural policy (CAP) has been damaged by the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease and latest BSE crisis. A comparison between the answers from this poll and the two 'Flash' Eurobarometers carried out in late 2000 showed an average drop of 10% in positive responses, with a corresponding increase in 'Don't know' answers. The survey was put to 16,029 members of the general public across the fifteen Member States.

Those surveyed are still strongly in favour of the 12 policy objectives listed in the survey, for example, to ensure healthy and safe products (90%), to promote respect of the environment (89%) and to ensure stable and adequate incomes for farmers (77%). However, when asked if they thought that the CAP performed these tasks well, the satisfaction levels were 37%, 41% and 29% respectively.

Replies to a specific question on food safety showed that only 36% of those surveyed felt that EU agricultural policy ensured that the food they bought was safe to eat. Only 22% felt that it gave enough information on how food is produced and processed, and only 18% that it ensured good treatment of farm animals.

The 'Don't know' responses to the 12 objectives ranged between 25% and 35%. This compares to a range of 7-13% in October/November 2000. This uncertainty seems to have also affected attitudes to non-food related issues. When asked about the switch in financial support from production to incomes, 56% of those questioned in 2001 saw it as a good thing, compared to 75% in late 2000.

The two 'Flash' Eurobarometers in 2000 revealed a widespread interest in agricultural issues among the general public as well as farmers.

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Europeans and common agricultural policy

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