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Digital developments in focus
| 1 minute read

European Commission Unveils Bold European Approach to AI Regulation

The European Commission has published a White Paper  unveiling ambitious proposals for a European wide approach to both AI policy and regulation. A factsheet has also been published, which gives a high-level overview of some key points from the White Paper.

In the White Paper the European Commission unveils an AI deployment and development strategy based on European values, and confirms its intention to attract more than €20 billion per year of total investment in the EU in AI over the next decade. The building blocks of the White Paper are a policy framework aimed at achieving an "ecosystem of excellence" along the value chain, and the key elements of a regulatory framework for AI in Europe that will create a "ecoystem of trust".

The White Paper has been published alongside the European strategy for data and a Commission Report on the safety and liability implications of AI, the Internet of Things and robotics. Together these publications set the groundwork for how the European Commission envisages delivering the "Europe fit for the digital age" that was promised by President Ursula von der Leyen in the publication entitled "My Agenda for Europe".

The European Commission's strategy is an unreservedly ambitious one, and the White Paper leaves no doubt that a co-ordinated European-wide approach to AI is high on their agenda. The strategy put forward to regulation would distinguish Europe from other jurisdictions, including the US where a light-touch approach has been favoured. A move to regulate AI as set out in the White Paper can be likened to the introduction of the GDPR, where Europe set a bold new standard for data protection regulation. As with the introduction of GDPR, there is also much in this approach to AI regulation that is likely to cause concern in big tech and amongst other industry players.

A consultation on the proposals set out in the White Paper is open for comments until 19 May 2020.

We have also published a more detailed briefing on the White Paper, available here.

A common European approach to AI is necessary to reach sufficient scale and avoid the fragmentation of the single market. The introduction of national initiatives risks to endanger legal certainty, to weaken citizens’ trust and to prevent the emergence of a dynamic European industry. This White Paper presents policy options to enable a trustworthy and secure development of AI in Europe, in full respect of the values and rights of EU citizens.


ai, big data, regulating digital, emerging tech