EU legislators secure groundbreaking AI regulations in late-night negotiations

European Union lawmkers have reached a political deal on a risk-based framework for regulating artificial intelligence. The file was proposed back in April 2021 and took months of tricky three-way negotiations to get a deal over the line. The pan-EU AI law is definitively on the way. Key representatives for the European Parliament, Council and the Commission hailed the agreement as hard fought, a milestone achievement and historic. The EU’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, also lauded the political agreement as a “global first”. The deals includes a total prohibition on the use of AI for various purposes, with exceptions such as law enforcement uses. The agreement also includes obligations for high-risk AI systems. A two-tier system of guardrails will be applied to general AI systems. The package also promotes regulatory sandboxes and real-world-testing being established by national authorities to support startups and SMEs. Penalties for non-compliance can lead to fines ranging from €35 million or 7% of global turnover to €7.5 million or 1.5 % of turnover. The full force of the AI Act may not be felt until 2026. Spain’s secretary of state for digital and AI issues, who led the Council’s negotiations on the file, hailed the agreement as “the biggest milestone in the history of digital information in Europe”. EU inernal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, described the agreement as “historic”.

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