For Written Answer on : 07/11/2023
Question Number(s): 385 Question Reference(s): 47375/23
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment to report on Ireland’s response, if any, to the EU Council Spanish Presidency’s call for feedback on the Artificial Intelligence Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The EU Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) is a groundbreaking regulation which is currently being negotiated between the EU Council, EU Parliament and European Commission. When agreed, it will apply to all AI developed and used in the EU. It is being developed to ensure the protection of fundamental rights and user safety, as well as to build trust in the development and uptake of AI. It is intended to address the risks generated by specific uses of AI through a set of complementary, proportionate, and flexible rules, while also setting out the governance structure for compliance to reduce risk and to ensure transparency, accountability, and robustness of the systems. The AIA will not regulate the technology but rather the use of the technology, so new and evolving AI technologies will fall within its scope, particularly where the health, safety and/or fundamental rights of the individual may be negatively impacted.
The EU Council agreed its position on the Act in December 2022, and the European Parliament agreed its approach by plenary vote on 14th June 2023. Spain, as the current EU Council Presidency, has prioritised negotiations on this file, and my officials are working with all parties to ensure that agreement is reached as quickly as possible, while working to ensure that the regulation is flexible and fit for purpose and that the fundamental rights and safety of the individual are central.
An informal meeting of EU Telecoms Ministers took place on 23–24 October in León, Spain, which included a discussion to continue progress on the AI Act negotiations to ensure that Member States could develop shared positions on aspects of the key points of discussion, including on the definition of high-risk cases and AI governance.
Ireland has been an active participant in the negotiations at all levels, in particular in the preparations for the four trilogue meetings which have been held to date. A fifth trilogue meeting is expected to take place in December 2023. The Spanish Presidency are very keen to close this file by the end of 2023 and Ireland is working to support that intention. Ireland’s negotiating position has been developed based on the principles outlined in our national AI strategy, AI – Here for Good, and taking account of the range of stakeholder views expressed throughout the course of the negotiations.
Ireland welcomes the development of the EU Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) and the progress that to date on this complex regulation, which is expected to be agreed by the end of 2023 or early 2024.