European leaders have called for a European approach on Artificial Intelligence (AI), as one of the most strategic technologies of the 21st century. As a response, proposals are on the table for increasing public and private investment, adapting to socio-economic changes, and for an appropriate ethical framework.

EPP European Committee of the Regions rapporteur, Jan Trei agrees that a clear European framework is needed for AI but regrets that the proposed strategy is not binding on the Member States. During the SEDEC meeting on the 27th of November he pointed out that the proposed measures do not cover the public sector at local and regional level and defended they should not be overlooked. Indeed, they are essential for investment on AI but also in the promotion of such investment, as well as in creating AI ecosystems in their areas.

Local and regional authorities should invest and encourage private investment in AI in the years ahead and there is a strong need to reinforce public-sector pilot projects in the regions in order to promote the use of AI in the living environment of the future” he stated. Examples include demand-led transport, social services or smart cities.

The rapporteur calls for measures to be coordinated at national and European level to empower Europeans to become both producers and consumers of innovations. Interregional cooperation through smart specialisation strategies also need to be bolstered.

In the near future, the EU should considerably increase its investment in AI development projects, including in the next period of the EU Financial Perspective 2021-2027.

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