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What do Europe's citizens think about the common agricultural policy?

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 58% of EU citizens see a shift of farm subsidies from production to the protection and development of the overall rural economy and direct support to farmers as "a very good" or "fairly good" thing. According to the poll, for EU citizens the priority of the CAP should be to ensure that agricultural products are healthy and safe (90%), promote the respect of the environment, protect medium or small sized farms and help farmers to adapt their production to consumer expectations.

More citizens feel that the CAP ensures that they know enough about where their food comes from. There has been an increase in citizens support for the objectives of the CAP to include environmental and rural issues as well as protecting the farmer.

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: 89%
  • To protect medium or small sized farms: 83%
  • To help farmers to adapt their production to consumer expectations: 81%
  • To favour and improve life in the countryside: 81%
  • To make European agriculture more competitive on world markets: 80%
  • To ensure stable and adequate incomes for farmers: 79%
  • To encourage the diversification of agricultural products and activities: 76%
  • To favour methods of organic production: 75%
  • To protect the taste of European agricultural products: 77%
  • To protect the specificity of European agricultural products: 78%
  • To reduce development disparities between regions: 76%
  • To defend farmers' interests in their dealings with intermediaries and distributors: 74% 

When asked how well they thought the CAP met its objectives, the satisfaction levels ranged from 45 % (To ensure that agricultural products are healthy and safe, up 3% from the previous poll) to 27% (To defend farmers' interests in their dealings with intermediaries and distributors, up 2% from the previous year).

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Europeans and the Common Agricultural Policy (10/2003) [pdf]

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