Out-Law News Lesedauer: 1 Min.

EU AI Act takes latest step through European Parliament

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The EU AI Act is a step closer to being finalised in law after it passed through the latest stage in the legislative process.

“An overwhelming majority” of MEPs on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee in the European Parliament voted to adopt the AI Act – the world’s first ever law on AI – on Tuesday morning.

The joint committee led the Parliament’s scrutiny of the European Commission’s original proposals for an AI Act, and some of its members subsequently represented the Parliament in trilogue talks with the Commission and the Council of Ministers, the EU’s other law-making body, to reach a deal on a compromise text (272-page / 1.24MB PDF).

That compromise text was endorsed by the Council of Ministers' Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) earlier this month, paving the way for the IMCO-LIBE committee to vote on Tuesday.

The endorsement of the AI Act by the IMCO-LIBE committee means the legislative file can now go before all MEPs for adoption. That vote is due to take place in a plenary session in the European Parliament scheduled for 10 and 11 April. If MEPs adopt the text as expected, the file will then pass back to the Council of Ministers for the final time for its formal adoption. The Council has already indicated it will vote in favour of the text if the Parliament does.

Once adopted by the institutions, the AI Act can be formally signed and written into EU law, which will then trigger the start an implementation period before it begins to take effect.

Nils Rauer of Pinsent Masons, who specialises in AI regulation, said businesses should start preparing for the AI Act – which provides for provides for a risk-based framework of regulation for AI systems – to become law. He said a crucial first step should involve assessing whether the AI systems they produce, deploy, import or distribute will be categorised as ‘high-risk’ AI systems, to which many of the most stringent new requirements under the legislation will apply.

Cerys Wyn Davies, Birmingham-based AI expert at Pinsent Masons, added that the news of the AI Act’s latest step through the legislative process came just days after the UK government said it will not yet legislate for the use of AI systems in the UK.

In a new policy paper that details its intended approach to AI regulation, the UK government said that while it believes every country in the world will eventually need to adopt new legislation to address “the challenges posed by AI technologies”, it is not the right approach to implement new laws “today”. It cited an insufficiently “mature” understanding of AI-related risk and concerns about unduly dampening innovation and competition as among the reasons for its view.

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