Thursday

2nd Apr 2020

Public support for EU farm subsidies high but falling

  • The share of citizens that thinks CAP subsidies benefit all citizens, not just farmers, has dropped (Photo: marcovdz)

A majority of respondents in an EU-commissioned poll said they thought the EU's agricultural policy benefits all citizens, but support was lower than two years ago. An increasing number of EU citizens believed the subsidies benefited only farmers.

More than 27,000 EU citizens were asked in October 2015 whether they agreed with the statement "the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) benefits all European citizens and not only farmers". The poll was published by Eurobarometer on Wednesday (6 January).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

While 62 percent said they agreed, this figure represents a sizeable drop compared to the 77 percent who supported the statement in November 2013.

Among EU citizens, 22 percent percent disagreed, while 16 percent said they did not know.

France, which is one of the largest recipients of agricultural subsidies, is also the country where the division is largest. Of the French respondents to the poll, 36 percent said the CAP only benefits farmers.

Around 39 percent of the EU budget is spent on agriculture, with about 30 percent going directly to farmers and the agricultural market, and 9 percent to rural development projects.

But many of the details of the CAP escape the average European: a majority said they had heard of the CAP, but did not know any details. 30 percent had never heard of it. Only 10 percent knew the details of the support EU gives farmers through the policy.

At the same time, the majority of citizens are not interested in knowing more about the policy: 65 percent said No, when asked if they wanted more information.

The number of people who said the EU subsidies for farmers were too high remained stable at 13 percent, while the share of those who thought the subsidies were too low, increased slightly from 26 to 29 percent.

Latvians (66 percent) and Romanians (57 percent) were the most in favour of higher subsidies, while in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands 31 percent said they were too high.

Across the EU, 41 percent said the level of farm subsidies was “about right”.

Agriculture ministers accept Commission aid plan

Most of the EU's agriculture ministers were cautiously optimistic about the EU Commission's €500 million aid package for Europe's struggling farmers, after receiving additional details.

EU farm projects unreasonably costly, auditors say

An aid scheme to help farmers improve environmental sustainability of their farms funded programmes that could have been a much better value for money, says the Court of Auditors.

Opinion

Why EU subsidy schemes don't work - the evidence

Counter to popular beliefs among policymakers, the positive effects of support schemes are found to be very limited. In order to revitalise Europe, the newly appointed EU Commission needs to reconsider government's role in innovation and entrepreneurship.

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote

A trade deal with Vietnam sailed through the European Parliament's international trade committee and after its embassy sent MEPs bottles of Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne over Christmas.

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Journalism hit hard by corona crisis
  2. EU fighting shortages and faulty medical supplies
  3. New EU navy operation to keep migrant details secret
  4. MEP: Constituents are our window into this tragedy
  5. Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable
  6. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  7. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough
  8. Trying to think straight about coronavirus

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us