Over three-quarters of Europeans believe the common agricultural policy (CAP) benefits all EU citizens and over 90% support the main trends of the new CAP. These are the main conclusions of the Eurobarometer survey on the CAP published today by the Commission.
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Development Dacian Ciolo? asserts, "These results bear out the importance Europeans attach to support for farming and the countryside.
"They also illustrate the significant extent to which the content of the reformed CAP is attuned to civil society expectations.
"This strong fundamental symbiosis between citizens and farmers will be strengthened by the new CAP, which will help European farming deliver an enhanced and increasingly tangible package of societal, environmental and economic benefits to European society as a whole and to individual European taxpayers in their everyday life."
Europeans attach increasing importance to agriculture, viewing it, alongside rural development, as 'very important' for the future. An absolute majority also thinks it important to safeguard diversity in farming and food products in the European Union.
Over 80 % of Europeans support the key CAP objectives, from guaranteeing food product supplies, more balanced rural development, to aid for young farmers.
There is even greater support for the key initiatives of the reform: 91 % (+4 %) regard linking the granting of aid to farmers to adhering to environmentally-friendly farming practices ('greening') as a welcome move, while making aid to farmers fairer and more targeted is approved by 92 % (+4 % compared with 2009).
The majority of EU citizens endorse the granting of aid to farmers and the proportion of that aid in the EU budget. The amount of aid awarded to farmers is deemed adequate by 45 %, 'too little' by 26 % (and 'too high' by 13 %).
91 % of Europeans think it important to assist vulnerable farm businesses facing climate- or health-related or economic difficulties and nearly one in two respondents describe this principle as 'very important' (48 %).
64 % of Europeans have heard of EU aid to farmers under the CAP compared with only 41 % who stated in the previous survey in 2009 that they had ever heard of the common agricultural policy1.
The majority of Europeans (61 %) are aware that income levels in farming are lower than in other sectors of the economy.
On consumer information, the survey shows that Europeans are very attentive to the quality of food products such as milk and certain types of meat and have high expectations of product traceability. A majority (53 %) are even willing to pay slightly more to have product origin information shown on labels.
After the reform of the common agricultural policy, the Commission wished to repeat the survey of EU citizens' opinions on the CAP and the importance they attach to farming in the EU. The survey conducted in accordance with Eurobarometer methods between 23 November and 2 December 2013 in the 28 European Union Member States canvassed 27 919 citizens from different social and demographic groups.