One step closer to an AI Act - what happens next?

On Wednesday 14 June, the European Parliament voted through its position on the Commission's proposal for a regulation on artificial intelligence (AI), the so-called AI Act. Today's decision brings the EU one step closer to harmonised rules for AI in the EU. In this article, we briefly review what the proposed regulation means and what happens next.

The Commission's proposal

In April 2021, the Commission presented its proposal for a Regulation on harmonised rules for AI in the EU, the so-called AI Act. The proposed regulation aims to ensure that AI systems provided and used on the single market are safe and compliant with existing EU legislation. It is also part of ensuring legal certainty regarding AI systems in order to facilitate investment and innovation in AI. The Proposal also aims to promote the development of a single market for the lawful, safe and trusted use of AI and to prevent market fragmentation.

The Commission's proposal follows a risk-based approach, categorising AI systems into unacceptable risk, high risk, limited risk and minimal (or no) risk. AI systems posing an unacceptable risk are proposed to be completely prohibited, while high-risk systems would be subject to supervision and registration (CE marking) before being made available on the single market. AI systems with limited risk would be subject to certain specific transparency requirements. AI systems posing minimal or no risk should be able to be used without restrictions.

More information on the Commission's proposal

Council position

In December 2022, the Council, consisting of Ministers of the EU Member States, adopted its common position on the Commission's proposal for an AI Act. The Council's version includes some clarifications and adjustments compared to the Commission's proposal, for example regarding the definition of AI systems, which AI methods should be prohibited and which requirements should apply to high-risk AI systems.

More information on the Council's position

Position of the European Parliament

On 11 May 2023, the responsible committee of the European Parliament adopted by a large majority its position on the Commission's proposal for the AI Regulation.

Today, 14 June, the position was adopted in plenary - again with a large majority. The European Parliament's version (as well as the Council's version) includes several adjustments compared to the Commission's proposal. For example, the following:

  • Expanding the list of AI systems to be considered as posing an unacceptable risk and thus to be completely banned.
  • Extension of the assessment criteria for which AI systems should be considered high risk. The proposed changes are expected to increase the coverage of AI systems.
  • Specific transparency requirements for general purpose AI systems, such as ChatGPT.
  • Strengthened possibilities for citizens to file complaints about AI systems and to obtain explanations for decisions which have a significant impact on citizens' fundamental rights taken by high-risk declared AI systems.

More information on the European Parliament's position

What happens now and when can we expect an adopted regulation?

The adoption of the European Parliament's position means that negotiations on a final version of the legislative proposal can start between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament, a so-called trilogue. According to a European Parliament press release, negotiations with the Council on the final form of the legislation will start already on 14 June 2023.

The duration of the trilogue negotiations is difficult to estimate and varies widely. Considering the relevance of the legislative proposal, the negotiations are likely to be prioritised, but at the same time the negotiations may risk being delayed given that the regulation of AI is a hot political issue. An agreement is likely to be reached in 2024 at the earliest and once adopted, the regulation will enter into force and become law in all EU Member States.

Vinge is monitoring the development of the negotiations and the progress of the legislative process. If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to contact us.