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Farm subsidies in EU are necessary - arguments and facts
Date: 19.01.2015

Farm subsidies are necessary: they reward the provision of public goods which cannot be supplied by the free market

The majority of European citizens (around 77%) support the common agricultural policy (CAP) and consider that it should guarantee food security in the European Union, maintain diversified farming systems across Europe, and ensure delivery of a range of public goods. Food safety is ensured through constant monitoring of production conditions throughout the food chain, “from farm to table." It is guaranteed by strict standards and its requirements are technically justified, judiciously applied and never discriminatory. European farmers are subject to stringent regulatory requirements relating to environmental protection, animal welfare, etc. These requirements increase production costs.

Farm subsidies ensure that the interests of European consumers and the choices made by European voters about the quality of food products and their method of production (e.g. animal welfare rules) are taken into account. European farm subsidies account for just 0.5% of European GDP (€100/person/year).

Farming is a strategic sector and a high-risk sector. The low elasticity of supply — inherent in biological production cycles— creates uncertainty for farm incomes. The common agricultural policy helps to stabilise farmers’ incomes and enables them to take a longer-term view, allowing them to invest in modernising their farms and thereby remain competitive. n addition to providing food and non-food agricultural products, farming can provide environmental and rural services and some European farm subsidies pay the farmers who provide these services to European society: 30 % of CAP direct aid is subject to environmental criteria.