As France and Germany withdrew their objections to the AI Act, the EU can proceed with the next steps required for implementing the regulation.
The European Union has advanced its regulatory framework for artificial intelligence (AI), as all 27 member states voted to approve the final version of the EU’s AI Act on Feb. 2.
The final revised text of the union-wide artificial intelligence regulation is a result of a political compromise reached in the last few months. Despite initial objections, in Jan. 2024, Germany announced its intentions to support the AI law proposals of the European Union. The European Union’s (EU) competition and digital chief, Margrethe Vestager, also supported the AI Act, highlighting the role of AI in future innovations.
Another opponent of the AI Act, France also confirmed they will support the regulation text on Feb. 2 “with strict conditions.” In particular, the country insisted on the regulation enabling the development of competitive AI models, balancing transparency and trade secrets, reassessing the threshold for systemic models, and avoiding overburdening with high-risk obligations.
The AI Act is a historical milestone, setting a precedent for other global regulators who aim to introduce a risk-based strategy for regulating AI applications and solutions.
The EU agreement focuses on the governmental use of AI in biometric surveillance, regulation of publicly available AI systems like ChatGPT, and the overall transparency rules AI firms must follow before market entry.
One of the biggest concerns about AI is deepfakes — fabricated videos created by AI algorithms trained on online footage that look realistic enough to be perceived as those made by real people. Deepfakes have been increasingly appearing on social media as well as used for financial fraud.
The legal act is now going to gradually proceed toward legislation. The next step is a vote by a crucial EU lawmaker committee scheduled on Feb. 13. After that, a European Parliament vote must confirm the act in March or April. It is expected to be fully applied in 2026, whereas some of the provisions will take effect earlier.