The results of recent Eurobarometer survey on the Common Agricultural Policy by the European Commission has found broad support among Irish citizens for the CAP.
The survey found 75 per cent of Irish citizens agree that the CAP benefits all citizens in the EU not just farmers. 62 per cent Irish respondents to the survey also indicated that support for rural areas is important, while 69 per cent felt guaranteeing the food supply for Europeans was a good thing.
Across the EU over three-quarters (77 %) of Europeans believe the common agricultural policy (CAP) benefits all EU citizens and over 90 per cent support the main trends of the new CAP, such as making aid fairer and more targeted (92 %) and linking the granting of aid to farmers to adhering to environmentally-friendly farming practices (‘greening’, 91 %).
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Development Dacian Cioloș speaking about the survey said, ‘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.’
The survey also confirms that Europeans attach increasing importance to agriculture, viewing it, alongside rural development, as ‘very important’ for the future (53 %), +7 points compared with 2009). 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.
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.