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Eurobarometer: Europeans, agriculture and the Common Agricultural Policy (2016)

This latest Eurobarometer survey finds broad support among Europeans for the contribution of the CAP to Commission's top priorities.

The objectives of this Special Eurobarometer survey were to understand the relationship between Europeans and agriculture within the EU by exploring the level of importance they attach to agriculture, understanding their view of the role of the farmer and what they believe are the main objectives of the EU with regards to agriculture.

Determining what Europeans know about the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and their views was also a key objective, as well assessing public opinion on the various forms of financial aid provided to farmers.

The survey conducted in accordance with Eurobarometer methods in the 28 Member States of the European Union between 17 and 26 October 2015. 27,822 EU citizens from different social and demographic categories were interviewed face-to-face at home and in their native language.

>> Read the report and the country factsheets


Main conclusions

  • A growing majority of Europeans consider agriculture and rural areas as important for the future, with more than nine out of ten respondents holding this view.
  • The majority of Europeans consider all of the listed priorities of the CAP to be important, with two priorities mentioned more often as being “very important”: investing in rural areas to stimulate economic growth and job creation (47%), and strengthening the farmer’s role in the food chain (45%).
  • Respondents agree that the CAP contribute to the Commission's strategic priorities and in particular in improving trade relations between the EU and the rest of the world (66% agree) and helping with the smooth running of the EU single market (65% agree).
  • An increasing number of Europeans have heard about the support the EU gives farmers through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) since the last survey (69%, +5 since 2013).
  • Close to half of Europeans would like to see an increase in the EU financial support for farmers over the next ten years (45%, +6 percentage points since 2009) and only 13% say they would like to see a decrease.



Other trends

  • Generally, Europeans are showing an increasing concern for agriculture and rural areas. Their views seem to be aligned with regards to what they consider the main responsibility for the farmer and the main objective for the EU; that is, supplying and ensuring products are of good quality, healthy and safe.
  • Public opinion is generally positive in reference to whether the EU is fulfilling its role in securing and ensuring products are of good quality, healthy and safe.
  • "Strengthening the farmer's role in the food chain" is one of the top two priorities for the CAP mentioned by Europeans as being important. The other key priority mentioned by Europeans in this survey is the need for investment into rural areas to stimulate economic growth and job creation.
  • In terms of the contribution of the CAP to the EU, the large majority of respondents believe that it improves trade relations between the EU and the rest of the world (66% agree) and helps with the smooth running of the EU single market (65% agree).
  • Europeans have become more aware of the CAP since 2013, although very few claim to know the details.
  • The majority would like to see EU support for farmers increase in time. Europeans are also generally supportive of the payments made to farmers for carrying out agricultural practices that are beneficial to the environment. They also think that it is justified for the EU to reduce subsidies if farmers do not respect food safety, animal welfare and environmental standards.
  • Regarding forests, Europeans recognize their importance in the fight against climate change.




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