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European Commission publishes public opinion survey on EU food and farming

Nearly three out of four Europeans are aware of the common agricultural policy (CAP) and consider all citizens benefit from it, according to the latest EU-wide Eurobarometer survey of public opinion about agriculture and the CAP published by the European Commission.

The survey was conducted from August to September 2020, including more than 27,200 respondents in 27 Member States. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methodology had to be adapted, with some interviews conducted online.

Nearly all respondents (95%) think that agriculture and rural areas are important for ‘our future’ in the European Union. Moreover, the survey shows that more EU citizens are aware of the CAP (73% today, 6 percentage points (p.p.) more than in 2017) and believe that the CAP benefits all citizens, not only farmers (76% today, 15 p. p. more than in 2017). In all Member States, a majority of citizens share this view, except Malta.

Furthermore, citizens’ views on what the main objectives of the CAP should remain similar to the findings of the 2017 survey. Most believe that providing safe, healthy food of high quality should be the main objective, representing the view of 62% of respondents, same as in 2017. This view is also reflected at national level, where citizens think it should be the CAP’s top priority. This year’s survey also found that 52% of citizens think that one of the main objectives should be protecting the environment and tackling climate change, as well as ensuring a fair standard of living for farmers (51%). These have slightly increased by respectively 2 and 3 p.p.

More Europeans think that the EU is fulfilling its role regarding the key objectives of the CAP. In comparison with 2017, all areas including food security, sustainability, safe and quality food increased by at least 5 p.p. The area where citizens believe that the EU is most fulfilling its role is food security, with 80% of respondents agreeing to that, an 8 p.p. increase since 2017.

In terms of financial support, the survey found that an increased number of citizens think that the support provided to farmers is too low, increasing by 13% points, from 26% of respondents in 2017 to 39% in 2020. This was also reflected when citizens were asked if they believe that the EU should increase its support to farmers. 56% of citizens think it should increase over the next ten years, up 12 p.p. compared to 2017 and 27 p.p. compared to 2007.

More citizens are now aware of the organic farming logo. The survey found that 56% of respondents are aware of the logo, an increase of 29 p.p. compared to 2017. The awareness of other logos such as the geographical indications logos have remained stable.

Even though a growing share of citizens believe that agriculture is one of the major causes of climate change (from 29% in 2010 to 42% in 2020), the majority of citizens believe that agriculture has already made a major contribution in fighting climate change, with 55% holding this view, up from 46% in 2010.

In terms of rural areas, citizens most believe that the environment and landscape (82%), access to leisure and cultural activities (56%) and educational facilities (54%) can be qualified as good. However, when asked how rural areas have evolved in the last 10 years, access to high speed internet is highlighted as the one that improved most (55% agree), while job opportunities is the one seen as having got worse (42% agree).

Finally, citizens believe that the most important benefits provided by forests include providing animals with natural habitats, preserving biodiversity and conserving nature (69%), absorbing carbon dioxide as well as contributing to fight climate change and its detrimental effects (65%).

The full report of the EU-survey will be published later in November, accompanied by country factsheets. The summary is now available online.


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