EU countries unanimously endorse ‘landmark’ AI legislation

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The 27 member states of the European Union (EU) have unanimously endorsed the bloc’s “landmark legislation” governing the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI), also known as the EU AI Act, according to European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton.

Breton described the move as “historic, world first, pioneering” on the social media platform X, emphasizing that negotiators have found the “perfect balance between innovation and safety.” In December, EU lawmakers and member states reached a political agreement on the key provisions of the AI Act, hailed by the European Commission as the “first-ever comprehensive legal framework on AI worldwide.”

However, the complexity of the legislation prompted months-long technical refinement, during which countries like France and Germany expressed concerns particularly regarding the stringent regulatory rules for powerful AI models, prompting a new round of discussions on its contents, Xinhua news agency reported.

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The European Parliament is anticipated to vote on the finalized text in March or April before it becomes law, with the AI Act slated to enter into force 20 days after publication in the official journal. While the legislation will not take immediate effect, certain rules will be implemented within six months, and other aspects will be enforced two years later.