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What do Europe's citizens think about the common agricultural policy? (06/2002)

A majority of Europeans want to see a change in the way the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) supports the EU farmers. According to the latest Eurobarometer opinion poll, more than 60% of EU citizens see a shift of farm subsidies from production to directly supporting farmers and the rural areas as "a very good" or "fairly good" thing. Support among those questioned for direct support to farmers was on average 62%, up 6% compared to the last Eurobarometer poll of mid-2001. The survey also shows that citizens want the EU farm policy to ensure that agricultural products are healthy and safe. According to the poll, for EU citizens the priority of the CAP should be to ensure that agricultural products are healthy and safe, promote the respect of the environment, protect medium or small sized farms and help farmers to adapt their production to consumer expectations.

The confidence of EU citizens in the CAP's ability to deliver safe agricultural produce has also recovered. There was an increase - from 37% (2001) to 42% - in the number of respondents who felt that the CAP ensured that agricultural produce was safe to eat. This is seen as the area in which the CAP best fulfils its objectives.

Lack of information continues to be a problem -'Don't know' answers ranged from 24 - 35%. Only 20% of respondents, for example, felt that they had enough information on how food is produced and treated.

Those surveyed were strongly in favour of the following farm policy objectives listed in the survey:

  • To ensure that agricultural products are healthy and safe: 90%
  • To promote the respect of the environment: 88%
  • To protect medium or small sized farms: 81%
  • To help farmers to adapt their production to consumer expectations: 80%
  • To favour and improve life in the countryside: 77%
  • To make European agriculture more competitive on world markets: 77%
  • To ensure stable and adequate incomes for farmers: 77%
  • To encourage the diversification of agricultural products and activities: 73%
  • To favour methods of organic production: 72%
  • To protect the taste of European agricultural products: 73%
  • To protect the specificity of European agricultural products: 73%
  • To reduce development disparities between regions: 72%
  • To defend farmers' interests in their dealings with intermediaries and distributors: 71%

When asked how well they thought the CAP met its objectives, the satisfaction levels ranged from 41% (To ensure that agricultural products are healthy and safe) to 25% (To defend farmers' interests in their dealings with intermediaries and distributors).

This survey was put to 16041 people in the 15 Member States.

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Europeans and the Common Agricultural Policy  [pdf]

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