30 November 2001

Europe doubts CAP delivering healthy food

PUBLIC support for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has taken a dive, in response to BSE in Continental Europe and foot-and-mouth disease.

Results from an annual survey of more than 16,000 EU citizens show just 37% were satisfied the CAP delivered them safe and healthy food, compared with 52% in September 2000.

Similar declines were noted for other aspects, with only 41% agreeing that the CAP promoted respect for the environment and 29% believing it provided stable and adequate incomes for farmers.

Despite this poor performance, there was still strong support for most of the EUs policy objectives. Nine out of 10 said the CAP should deliver safe and healthy products, while 82% supported the protection of small and medium-sized farms.

"These findings show that people care about the farm policy objectives set out in Agenda 2000," said European farm commissioner Franz Fischler. "But the poll confirms we have to do better in order to achieve these goals. The mid-term review of the CAP next year will serve us an opportunity." &#42