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EU Member States sign AI declaration of cooperation

Ahead of publication of upcoming AI communication

16 April 2018

On 10 April 2018, coinciding with the Commission's "digital day", 24 Member States of the European Union, and Norway signed a Declaration on Cooperation on Artificial Intelligence. The United Kingdom was one of the signatory Member States; Croatia, Cyprus, Greece and Romania are the Member States which did not sign the declaration.

In line with the Commission's digital single market agenda, the signatories to the declaration agree to work together to improve the conditions for the development of AI in the European Union, and to improve Europe's technological capacity. The declaration advocates a wide-ranging, comprehensive and integrated approach to increasing the European Union's competitiveness, attractiveness and excellence in the field of AI.  

The declaration includes a number of statements with the themes of transparency and accountability. Signatories agree to exchange views on ethical and legal frameworks for AI to ensure its "responsible" deployment. The signatories also declare that they will "ensure that humans remain at the centre of the development, deployment and decision-making of AI" as well as "prevent the harmful creation and use of AI applications". Concerns about the broader impact of AI can also be seen in the signatories' declaration that they will exchange views on the impact AI may have on labour markets – and discuss "best practices on how to mitigate such impacts". 

Research and knowledge-sharing are other key themes of the declaration. The declaration includes the creation of a "European AI Alliance" to encourage stakeholder discussion on AI. It also proposes that the Member States contribute to the establishment of Digital Innovation Hubs at the European level. This is in addition to cooperation in respect of pan-European AI research. 

The declaration also mentions the Commission's separate announcement that it intends to adopt a Communication on AI during the course of April 2018. This is likely to lay the groundwork for the legal and ethical approach Europe will take towards AI, and the dialogue between the Member States and the Commission envisaged by the declaration.