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European Commission prepares to establish future ‘European Artificial Intelligence Office’

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The European Commission adopted its decision to establish the future European Artificial Intelligence Office, in line with the provisions of the legislation on artificial intelligence. The provisional political agreement regarding this legislation reached by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the night of 8-9 December 2023 is still being examined by the European co-legislators.

The European Artificial Intelligence Office should operate in accordance with Commission internal processes and its establishment should not affect the powers and competences of national competent authorities, and bodies, offices and agencies of the Union in the supervision of AI systems, as provided for by the forthcoming Regulation laying down harmonised rules on artificial intelligence and other sectoral Union legislation. It is without prejudice to the functions of other Commission departments in their respective areas of responsibility, and of the European External Action Service in the area of Common, Foreign and Security policy. The European Artificial Intelligence Office should exercise its tasks, in particular to issue guidance, in a way that does not duplicate activities of relevant bodies, offices and agencies of the Union under sector specific legislation.

The Commission specifies that the future ‘Office’ will be created within the Commission and that it will be responsible, in particular, for supervising the rules applicable to AI models and systems for general use. The entity, the Commission states in its decision, will have to become a central coordinating body for AI policy at EU level and cooperate with other Commission services, EU bodies, Member States and the stakeholder community.

During the inter-institutional negotiations, Parliament argued in favour of the Office having considerable room for manoeuvre and, ideally, being set up as an EU agency. Although this point was not included in the final agreement, the AI Office will nevertheless have its own budget line.

 “It will have an international vocation, promote the EU’s approach to AI governance and contribute to the EU’s international activities in the field of AI”, the Commission adds.

The European Office for AI will also be responsible for working on guidelines and tools for standardisation, regulatory sandboxes and codes for best practice and good conduct within the EU.

Work on setting up the European Office for AI will begin in the coming months, says the Commission.

In addition to the announcements concerning the establishment of the future ‘European Office for AI’, the Commission has adopted a communication outlining its strategic approach to the use of artificial intelligence, as well as its internal preparations.

In this strategy, the Commission commits to setting up “operational guidelines on the development and use of lawful, safe, and trustworthy AI systems” in order to anticipate the entry into force of AI legislation.

These, the Commission states, “will give staff (…) clear and pragmatic guidance how to put such systems in operation”. And also “classify and assess AI systems in use – or planned to be used by the Commission – based on a risk-based approach and using the Commission’s operational guidelines”.

Artificial intelligence has become an area of strategic importance for the Commission, as it is for many other organisations. With the Communication on Artificial Intelligence in the Commission, we have put in place the necessary safeguards to make the most of the immense possibilities that artificial intelligence offers our institution – for the benefit of our staff and good policy-making”, concluded the Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn.

EU Briefs publie des articles provenant de diverses sources extérieures qui expriment un large éventail de points de vue. Les positions prises dans ces articles ne sont pas nécessairement celles d'EU Briefs.

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