23 Nov 2023

Joint statement: Let’s give AI in Europe a fighting chance

As the AI Act approaches the final weeks of negotiations, two sticking points remain. Firstly, how to handle foundation models and general-purpose artificial intelligence (GPAI). Secondly, the risk of misalignment with existing sectorial legislation.

Only 8% of European companies use AI – far from the Commission’s 2030 target of 75% – and barely 3% of the world’s AI unicorns come from the EU. Europe’s competitiveness and financial stability highly depend on the ability of European companies and citizens to deploy AI in key areas like green tech, health, manufacturing or energy.

For Europe to become a global digital powerhouse, we need companies that can lead on AI innovation also using foundation models and GPAI. As European digital industry representatives, we see a huge opportunity in foundation models, and new innovative players emerging in this space, many of them born here in Europe. Let’s not regulate them out of existence before they get a chance to scale, or force them to leave.

On scope, the Commission’s own data shows that, for an SME of 50 employees, placing one single AI-enabled product on the market could result in compliance costs of well over €300,000 under the AI Act. It is vital that we reduce this burden as much as possible, and let SMEs apply GPAI, foundation models and other new emerging AI technologies in their innovations.

This is why we support recent moves by Member States to limit the scope for foundation models to transparency standards. The AI Act does not have to regulate every new technology, and we strongly support the regulation’s original scope focusing on high-risk uses, not specific technologies.

Further, European key sectors already are strongly regulated, and it is imperative to clarify and remove any overlaps and conflicts with existing sectoral legislation, such as the Medical Devices Regulation.

Our recommendations:

  • The risk-based approach must remain at the core of the AI Act. It is supported by a broad alliance of industry and civil society and is key to ensure that the regulatory framework is technology-neutral and focuses on truly high-risk use cases – it should not treat all AI software without an intended purpose as high risk.
  • Regulatory flaws will be aggravated at sectoral level, such as healthcare. We should better align with the EU’s existing, comprehensive product safety legislation to address conflicting requirements and overlaps to avoid disruptions to well-established sectoral frameworks.
  • Regulating GPAI and foundation models requires focusing on information sharing, cooperation and compliance support across the value chain. The AI Act should allow companies to detail collaboration activities and allocate responsibilities among them. The concept of ‘very capable’ or ‘high-impact’ foundation models cannot be measured and is not future proof.
  • The EU’s comprehensive copyright protection and enforcement framework already contains provisions that can help address AI-related copyright issues, such as the text and data mining exemption and corresponding. 
Download the full joint letter here

Signatories

  • Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl

    Director General

  • Stella Morabito

    Director General

  • Corina Vasile

    Executive Director

  • Bernhard Rohleder

    CEO

  • Michał Kanownik

    President

  • André Habets

    Director

  • Gregor Schönstein

    Head of IOÖ

  • Emil Fitos

    President

  • Jaromír Hanzal

    Director

  • Daniel Ribeiro

    Director General

  • Eleonora Faina

    Director General

  • Matina Zisiadou

    Managing Director

  • Seda Çakmak

    Platform Coordinator

  • Nenad Šutanovac

    Director

  • Natasha Friis Saxberg

    Managing Director

  • Doris Põld

    CEO

  • Cesar Tello

    CEO

  • Luis Pardo

    Director General

  • Jean Diederich

    President

  • Camilla Ley Valentin

    CEO

  • Ahmet Çelebi

    Secretary General

  • Simonas Černiauskas

    CEO

  • Maria Shevchuk

    Acting СЕО

  • Krisztina Tajthy

    Secretary General

  • Lotte de Bruijn

    Managing Director

  • Michel Combot

    Managing Director

  • Andrzej Dulka

    President of the Board

  • Yota Paparidou

    President of the Board

  • Una Fitzpatrick

    Director

  • Åsa Zetterberg

    Association Director

  • Pia Sandvik

    CEO

  • Jaakko Hirvola

    CEO

  • Sarah Bäumchen

    Executive Board Member

For further information, please contact
Julien Chasserieau
Associate Director for AI & Data Policy
Bianca Manelli
Officer for AI & Data Policy
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