The 2003 CAP reform, which decoupled most of the existing direct aid, and the subsequent sectoral reforms resulted in the postponement of most of the aid under the yellow and blue boxes in the green box (€61.6 billion for the period 2016-2017, see table below). Aid granted under the “Amber Box” (AMS or Aggregate Measurement of Support) decreased sharply, from EUR 81 billion at the beginning of the contractual period to EUR 6.9 billion over the period 2016-2017, even with successive waves of enlargement. The European Union is thus largely respecting the commitments made in Marrakesh (€72.38 billion per year) for the AMS. In addition, the “Blue Box” reached €4.6 billion during the same registration period. GATT rules first imposed subsidies on industrial products and then banned them. For the first time in the Uruguay Round, limit values were set for agricultural products. Since agricultural subsidies were limited but not prohibited, agriculture was preferentially integrated into multilateral rules. Since 1994, the terms “amber”, “blue” and “green” have been used to describe the different types of support. The initial idea was to repeat the colors of traffic lights — red for prohibited subsidies, yellow for limited subsidies, and green for allowable subsidies — but there was a softer treatment. As far as agriculture is concerned, all national support measures considered to be distortions of production and trade (with a few exceptions) enter the amber box.
The total value of these measures must be reduced. Various proposals concern the extent to which these subsidies should be further reduced and whether limit values should be set for certain products instead of having general aggregate limit values. The European Union and its Member States shall act in accordance with Article 207 (common commercial policy) and Articles 217 and 218 (international agreements) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (5.2.2). These agreements include a degree of flexibility in implementation by both developing countries, WTO members (special and differential treatment) and least developed countries (LDCs) and net food-importing developing countries (specific provisions). To qualify for the green box, a subsidy must not distort trade or, at most, cause minimal distortions. These subsidies must be financed by the state (not by higher prices) and must not include price support. These are generally programmes that are not product-oriented and include direct income support for farmers that is not linked to the current level of production or to current prices (decoupled from them). . . .