The Renew Europe group welcome today's ground-breaking adoption of the EU's Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) in the Committees of Civil Liberties (LIBE) and of Consumer Protection (IMCO). The union-wide regulatory framework put forward by the EU is pioneering work, paving the way for the world's first horizontal regulation on AI. The recent controversies around the new generative ChatGPT system show why this legislation regulating the development and use of AI is highly pressing.
Dragoș Tudorache (REPER, Romania), the rapporteur in the LIBE committee for the AI Act, said:
”Given the profound transformative impact AI will have on our societies and economies, the AI Act is very likely the most important piece of legislation in this mandate. And it’s the first legislation of this kind worldwide, which means that the EU can lead the way, globally, in making AI human-centric, trustworthy and safe. Parliament’s position, supported by all major political groups, considerably improves on the Commission text and takes into account recent developments, such as foundation models and generative AI. We have worked to support AI innovation in Europe and to give start-ups, SMEs and industry space to grow and innovate, while protecting fundamental rights, strengthening democratic oversight over the use of high-risk AI systems, and ensuring a mature system of AI governance and enforcement across the Union.”
The report establishes a common definition for AI between EU states, prohibits the deployment of certain practises, such as the use of facial recognition in public places, and sets ground rules based on risk levels, spanning from 'minimal' to 'unacceptable'. Those using tools considered high-risk will be required to show great transparency in their utilization.
Svenja Hahn (FDP, Germany), the shadow rapporteur in the IMCO committee, summarised the liberal victories:
"The Parliament's position on the AI Act bears a clear liberal handwriting and defies conservative surveillance wishes and left-wing fantasies of over-regulation. We have succeeded in finding a compromise that would regulate AI proportionately, protect civil rights, and boost innovation and the economy. It is a liberal win and a strong signal for the negotiations with the member states that Parliament stands up for civil rights and calls for a ban on biometric surveillance in public spaces. For me, it was also a priority that we significantly strengthen experimentation on AI in regulatory sandboxes, so that the EU can become the hotspot for research and innovation on artificial intelligence.”
The Renew Europe group is pleased to have ensured an approach that respects fundamental rights and the EU's democratic values, provide legal certainty concerning innovation and investment, and facilitates the development of a single market for lawful and safe AI.
Next step: The report is expected to be put to a vote in the Plenary session of the European Parliament in June. Once endorsed by the MEPs, inter-institutional negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council can start.