Negotiations toward a final text of the European Union’s AI Act are going down to the wire this week as the final “trilogue” session among the EU Parliament, Commission and Council is scheduled for Wednesday (Dec. 6). The pressure is on to reach an agreement before the end of the year, as the June 2024 EU Parliamentary elections loom over talks. If agreement can’t be reached before then, there’s a danger that the process would have to be restarted with a new Parliament and new leadership in the Council, which could potentially scuttle the whole project.
Yet despite the pressure, the parties to the current talks appear to be farther apart than where they started, endangering what had been touted as the world’s first comprehensive regulatory regime for of AI. The consensus on the basic structure of the proposed regulations that seemed at hand in the summer was thrown into turmoil last month when France, supported by Germany and Italy, suddenly reversed its position and embraced “mandatory self-regulation” via codes of conduct for the largest foundation models instead of the once-agreed tiered system of binding obligations.