In a significant move, EU member states announced an agreement on the draft text of the Artificial Intelligence Act, positioning the EU as one of the first major entities to enforce binding regulations on AI technologies. Member State representatives voted on February 2 to confirm the final text of the draft law. This development comes after extensive negotiations and notable concerns from several member states about its potential impact on innovation.
One may recall that in December of last year, the EU announced it had a final agreement on the contents of the Act. This, however, sparked a series of concerns from major EU economies like Germany, France, and Austria regarding specific provisions of the Act, such as data protection and rules for advanced AI models, which could impact Europe’s AI industry. These concerns necessitated further negotiations and adjustments to the Act, including the European Commission’s efforts to reassure member states about their specific issues through formal declarations and the creation of an expert group to advise on the Act’s implementation.
Here is a summary of some of some of the key compromises that come with this latest announcement:
- Pro-Innovation Measures and AI Office: The Commission introduced pro-innovation AI sector measures and established the AI Office to enforce the Act, aimed at consensus-building.
- Creation of an Expert Advisory Group: An expert group will be formed to guide the Commission on avoiding regulatory overlaps with existing EU laws on medical devices and machinery products.
- Guidance for Developers on Copyright Disclosure: The AI Office will provide detailed guidance to developers of advanced “general-purpose” AI models on disclosing copyrighted material for model training.
- Member State Flexibility: The Act permits individual countries to enforce stricter rules on facial recognition and similar technologies, allowing national discretion.
- Reassurances for Concerned States: The Commission promised Austria, France, and Germany formal declarations to address their specific issues.
The European Parliament will now vote on the draft law and is expected to approve it. The EU AI Act will likely be confirmed law in the coming months.