Austria, France and Germany were lured back into the fold with promises that the Commission would make formal declarations reassuring them on their pet issues, two people involved in the negotiations told POLITICO. These declarations are not legal acts, but as the Commission will oversee the AI Act’s implementation, they would provide a guarantee of sorts.
A spokesperson for German Digital Minister Volker Wissing, the foremost AI Act skeptic within Germany’s coalition government, told POLITICO: “We asked the EU Commission to clarify that the AI Act does not apply to the use of AI in medical devices.”
A statement the European Commission, circulated among EU diplomats ahead of the vote and seen by POLITICO, reveals plans to set up an “expert group” comprising EU member countries’ authorities. The group’s function will be to “ advise and assist” the Commission in applying and implementing the AI Act.
In particular, the expert group will aid the Commission in avoiding overlaps between the AI Act and other EU regulations, including the Medical Device Regulation, the In Vitro Diagnostic Device Regulation, and the Machinery Regulation.
The statement also tasks the AI Office with providing “detailed guidance” for developers of advanced “general-purpose” AI models on disclosing a summary of copyrighted materials used to train the software. It also reaffirms the Commission’s commitment to fostering innovation in the AI sector, and “ensur[ing] a flexible and future-proof legal framework” when updating some aspects of the text affecting advanced AI.
Finally, the statement allows for member countries to adopt more restrictive rules and safeguards for technologies such as facial recognition, emotional recognition and biometric categorization.
The AI Act still needs the formal approval of the European Parliament. The text is slated to get rubber-stamped at the committee level in two weeks, with a plenary vote expected in April.
Disgruntled pro-privacy lawmakers might still try to hamper the law’s progression by proposing amendments — which, if adopted, will need additional negotiations with the Council. But most people who worked on the AI Act within Parliament are confident that the law will pass with no change.
This article has been updated to include new details of the agreement on the AI Act.