Anticipation mounts for European Commission´s AI proposals

Owing to European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen´s pledge to draft Artificial Intelligence (AI) legislation within the first 100 days of her mandate, anticipation has been building as the March 1st deadline approaches. It has been assumed however, that the Commission will not release legislation but rather proposals will be published, similar to a white paper, indicating various legislative paths that could be taken by the Commission.

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, confirmed reports at the ITRE hearing held on January 28 that the Commission will present their first developments relating to AI on 19 of February. In line with presenting the Commission’s progress relating to AI, Breton also revealed the Commission will present a “real data strategy ”.  Mr. Breton also stated that a second communication relating to AI will be forthcoming at the beginning of March.

This update follows a presentation from the Expert Group on Liability and New Technologies , which outlined their proposals to Members of the European Parliament´s JURI Committee  and during the recent Product Liability Hearing for the IMCO Committee . The expert group recommended utilising, and slightly adapting, competition law to deal with liability issues that AI poses. However, it is important to remember that the report is not the official line of the European Commission, it is an independent document from the expert group that advises the Commission.

During the ITRE hearing, Mr. Breton also reiterated the Commission’s commitment to reviewing Competition Law but did not specifically link Competition Law as a mechanism for dealing with AI, and so it remains to be seen what approach the Commission will take.

Furthermore, he stressed that while the EU will not take a protectionist stance regarding European data, he does however believe that European data should be processed to the benefit of European businesses and citizens. Therefore, global companies and platforms will have to adapt to European data regulations.

Finally, Mr. Breton was also eager to stress that contrary to recent reports, he believed that the European Union is not lagging behind in dealing with issues presented to us by AI and data when compared to our Global counterparts.