The Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on AI

 

The Council of the European Union – under the Competitiveness formation, gathering the Ministers of the Member States – adopted conclusions on the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence (AI) on 18 February 2019. Overall, the Council welcomes the European Commission's communication on the Coordinated  Plan on Artificial Intelligence published on 7 December 2018.

Key points

The Council recommends the development of high-end applications in all economic sectors in order to face current challenges, including the curing of diseases.

Furthermore, the Council: 

  • Fostering AI development and utility – Underlines the importance of fostering development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Europe to transfer new results and insights from fundamental research to AI to industry.
  • Healthcare – Encourages the promotion and development of key enabling technologies and AI applications, building examples of more advanced areas such as healthcare.
  • Diffusion and access to AI – Supports the diffusion of and access to AI capacity in each Member State through the network of AI digital innovation hubs and clusters and the AI-on-demand platform via different EU funds. 
  • Data – a cornerstone for AI – Stresses the need to make more data available for AI development and to create a common European data space as well as reference sites for AI testing and experiments in the EU.
  • Ethical Guidelines on AI – Highlights the importance of ensuring the full respect of European citizen's rights by implementing ethics guidelines  for the development and use of AI, taking note of the forthcoming publication of the guidelines (first draft), which will be presented in March 2019 by the independent High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence.
  • AI in EU Member States – Encourages Member States to put in place, by mid-2019, national AI strategies or to include AI dimensions in other relevant strategies and programmes, outlining envisaged investments and implementation measures.
  • AI Worldwide – Encourages Member States’ efforts to place EU companies as global drivers of AI.
  • Key role of the Competitiveness Council – Stresses that the Competitiveness Council should play a key role in monitoring the implementation and annual updating of the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence (taking into account of ethical and security aspects of AI falling under the remit of other Council formations).  

Council calls: 

  • For the development of secure solutions for giving easy access to data and for integrity of data;
  • For a broader approach towards education for AI, science, technology, engineering and mathematics at all levels;
  • On Member States to exchange best practices on reinforcing excellence to retain and attract talents in EU, to perform and foster the uptake of AI. 

Analysis and next steps

The endorsement of this communication gives the political mandate to the Commission to carry out the initiatives envisioned in the Coordinated Plan for 2019-2020. The Council conclusions are an indicator of the Member States’ priorities regarding AI development and use in Europe. Although these conclusions are not legally binding, once adopted, they will guide the Commission’s and Member States’ actions in the field of AI until the 2020 annual update of the Commission Coordinated Plan on AI.

Background

On 7 December, the European Commission presented a coordinated plan on Artificial Intelligence (AI) prepared with Member States, Norway and Switzerland to foster the development and use of AI in Europe. This coordinated plan for “AI made in Europe” details actions to start in 2019 /2020 and prepares the ground for activities in the following years. Coordination with Member States will continue and the plan will be reviewed and updated annually.