An opinion poll on the CAP conducted by “Factwise” for WWF International between December – January 2013 in France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Rumania asked EU citizens how they wish for their tax money to be spent. Those polled expressed a preference to keep direct payments per hectare (1.pillar) while rejecting a slashing of payments for targeted measures (2. pillar). The EU Council and Parliament’s attempts to reduce environmental measures are not backed by public opinion.
According to the poll’s highlights, citizen across the polled EU countries believe that farming subsidies should, rather than be an income support, deliver to the whole society. An overwhelming majority of respondents believe that farmers should deliver public goods in return for the subsidies they receive.
Public funding to farmers should be based on specific measures that farmers take to support sustainable agriculture. Respondents are most willing for their tax money to be used to “ensure safe and healthy agricultural products.” “Improving the environment, nature and rural landscapes” and “maintaining lively rural communities” are also important. Least important is “increasing farmer’s income” and “intensifying the production of food.” Some of these trends are slightly stronger in the old Member States than in the new ones.
For Germany the poll results show strong support for a green, local and fair CAP. Matthias Meissner, WWF Germany’s agricultural expert called upon chancellor Angela Merkel not to take the environment and rural sustainability hostage in her EU budget poker game and to accept the evidence that tax payers want sustainable and responsible farming in return for their money.