eco Association on the AI Act: Harmonised Transposition is Crucial for Europe’s Competitiveness as a Digital Location

On the occasion of today’s vote on the AI Act in the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the EU Member States, eco – Association of the Internet Industry calls for a practical transposition and EU-wide harmonised criteria for dealing with AI systems.

“A true level playing field in Europe requires harmonised obligations, requirements and standards. Specialised national approaches would lead to a patchwork of regulations and legal uncertainty for companies, which would stifle innovation,” says eco Chair Oliver Süme.

According to Süme, this requires close and regular exchange among all stakeholders involved. This applies in particular to technological developments in the field of AI. The legal framework must remain flexible for new use cases. Practical criteria for risk assessment must also be developed.

“At the moment, it is not even clear what measures companies need to take to minimise these risks,” notes Süme. “The EU urgently needs to make improvements and provide clarity, otherwise the AI Act will become a hindrance to AI-driven innovation throughout Europe and distort international competitiveness.”

At the same time, from the association’s perspective, the German federal government should make use of any leeway in the AI Act with regard to real-time biometric surveillance. Süme: “For AI to be successful, it needs to be accepted by the public. However, the provisions in the AI Act for real-time biometric surveillance increase concerns about jeopardising civil rights and could completely undermine trust in artificial intelligence. The German federal government had ruled out real-time biometric surveillance in its coalition agreement and, to avoid losing public trust, it should remain consistent in this regard”.

Oliver Süme