eco on the EU Member States’ Vote on the AI Act: Harmonised Interpretation is Essential for the Act’s Effectiveness

  •     EU Member States are voting on the AI Act today 
  •     Harmonised standards are essential for a true level playing field in Europe
  •     Establishment of supervisory authorities at national and EU level must now be rapidly advanced

Today, Tuesday, the EU Member States are set to finalise the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act). With this law, the European Union has become the first international entity to create a comprehensive set of rules for the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI). The European Parliament had already passed the AI Act back in March. The Member States’ vote is considered a formality.

The aims of the regulation include protecting fundamental rights, strengthening trust in AI applications, and enabling innovation. However, the law is not without controversy. For instance, the possibility of using AI for biometric surveillance in public spaces has been widely criticised, with eco having also expressed clear concerns in this regard. In order for the AI Act to be effective, a harmonised interpretation and application of the legal framework in the Member States is necessary, as cautioned by eco Chair of the Board Oliver Süme. The codes of conduct outlined in the Act are central to both promoting innovation and guaranteeing the legal certainty of companies.

“Harmonised interpreted obligations, requirements and standards are essential for a genuine level playing field in Europe. The Member States voting today must be fully cognisant of the fact that special national approaches increase the risk of patchwork regulations. This is to the detriment of the Single Market, given that legal uncertainty will lead to innovation happening increasingly outside the EU over time,” explains Süme.

A close exchange between the stakeholders involved could help to remedy this situation. It is therefore important to swiftly establish the necessary supervisory authorities at both national and EU levels. “The establishment of the new EU institutions for artificial intelligence, especially the ‘AI Board’ and the ‘AI Office’, must now be prioritised to ensure that the application and interpretation of the AI Act can keep pace with the speed at which AI is developing and the accompanying new use cases,” says Süme.

At a national level, guidelines and dedicated contact persons for the companies are also needed to facilitate their handling of the complex regulation of AI. It is now up to policymakers in the Member States and at the EU level to provide support – and to do so as unbureaucratically as possible. Simplicity should also be the focus in the creation of real laboratories set out in the AI Act. Overall, eco is in favour of implementing the AI Act in Germany and Europe in a harmonised approach that minimises bureaucracy.

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