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EU Lawmakers Seal Landmark Deal on AI Regulations

At the European Parliament in June, lawmakers discussed the AI Act.
At the European Parliament in June, lawmakers discussed the AI Act. Jean-Francois Badias/Associated Press

The European Union lawmakers have just finalized a agreement on regulating artificial intelligence (AI) after grueling negotiations spanning nearly three days. This hard-fought deal marks a significant stride toward establishing a comprehensive framework governing the use of AI within the EU. This landmark deal, achieved after months of intricate talks, signifies the imminent arrival of a pan-EU AI law.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union, tweeted the news via X. Since taking post in late 2019, she has made it a top goal to pass an AI law. She also praised the political accord as a “global first.”

The core of this agreement lies in a comprehensive risk-based framework governing AI applications. While the final text is pending public release, a European Parliament press release provides key insights into the prohibitions embraced within this regulatory paradigm. Notably, a blanket prohibition covers AI deployment for various sensitive purposes, such as biometric categorization based on personal characteristics like political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, and race.


Facial recognition technology faces stringent limitations, prohibiting untargeted scraping of facial images and banning emotion recognition in workplaces and educational institutions. Furthermore, the use of AI to manipulate human behavior or exploit vulnerabilities is unequivocally banned.

However, the agreement does not entirely restrict the use of remote biometric identification by law enforcement but subjects it to rigorous safeguards and narrow exceptions. The conditional use of this technology requires prior judicial authorization and is confined to specific crime-related scenarios.

Notably, AI systems deemed “high-risk” due to their potential harm to fundamental rights, health, safety, and the environment will face stringent obligations. These include mandatory fundamental rights impact assessments and mechanisms for citizens to launch complaints regarding AI systems impacting their rights.


The agreement introduces a “two-tier” system for governing general AI systems, stipulating transparency requirements for foundational models and stricter obligations for high-impact systems posing systemic risks. Furthermore, penalties for non-compliance range from substantial fines to a phased entry into force, giving companies time to adapt to the new regulations.

Carme Artigas Brugal during the AI Act Trilogue press conference in Brussels, December 9, 2023.
Carme Artigas Brugal during the AI Act Trilogue press conference in Brussels, December 9, 2023. Press Conference/European Union

Carme Artigas, Spain’s secretary of state for digital and AI issues, lauded this agreement as a monumental milestone in Europe’s digital history, heralding it as the world’s first international AI regulation. The law, she predicts, will offer legal and technical certainty to European developers and startups, fostering innovation while upholding fundamental rights.

European Parliament representatives emphasized the legislation’s human-centric approach, emphasizing the significance of defending fundamental rights amidst the rapidly evolving AI landscape. They highlighted the inclusion of bans on predictive policing and biometric categorization as pivotal victories for safeguarding democratic principles.

The sentiment across the negotiating table echoed a balance between protection and innovation, assuring citizens of trustworthy interactions with AI-driven products and services. The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, hailed the agreement as historic, encompassing a comprehensive framework prioritizing user safety, innovation, and the preservation of European values.

While formal steps remain before final adoption, this breakthrough agreement signals a significant stride in AI regulation, paving the way for a more responsible and ethically aligned technological landscape. The immediate focus shifts to implementing the agreement, setting up an AI Office within the EU’s executive to coordinate enforcement and readiness for this transformative AI regulation.

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Expert in the AI field. He is the founder of aidigitalx. He loves AI.