According to a new Eurobarometer survey, there is a growing awareness among Europeans of the contribution of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the European Commission's top priorities, with over 80% of the respondents considering the role of the CAP "very or fairly important" for stimulating jobs and growth and for supporting the role of the farmer in the food chain. Respondents also agree that the CAP contributes to improving trade relations between the EU and the rest of the world (66% agree) and to the smooth running of the EU single market (65% agree).
Commenting on this publication, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said: "I welcome the growing importance that citizens are putting on agriculture and rural areas, and appreciate that 70% of Europeans believe that the EU is fulfilling its role in securing the European food supply. I also welcome the indications that EU citizens understand how the CAP is contributing to investment, growth and jobs. These will feed into our deliberations when determining EU policy for the future." The outcome of the survey also highlights the importance for the future that the general public puts on agriculture and rural areas (>90%) and confirms the trend from previous surveys which shows increasing concern about the future of agriculture and rural areas as well as improved awareness of the CAP.
The aim of this Special Eurobarometer Survey was to understand the relationship between Europeans and agriculture, 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.
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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.