The AI Act and the European Parliament: it is complicated ...

You're not alone if you can't figure out what the roles of the JURI, LIBE, ITRE and IMCO committee are. But don't worries, this post tells you all you need to know about competences, timelines etc.

The AI Act was presented by the European Commission on 21 April and provisionally referred to the IMCO committee on 7 June. What followed was a months-long conflict of competences among committees, eventually resolved by a political deal between RENEW and S&D on 1 December.

So, what does the COP decision say? It involves in total 7 committees (Rule 56/57/58) and allocates shared & exclusive competences. Check out the Parliament's 'Rules of Procedures' for general info on the different types of committee cooperation. Let's specify for the AI Act:

The LIBE and IMCO committee are the lead committees (Rule 58) that need to adopt a joint report. Agreeing on a draft will already be challenging for the rapporteurs as MEP Benifei (S&D) focusses on risks of AI, while MEP Tudorache (RE) is rather pro innovation. As a result, the timeline has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The COP outcome was major defeat for the JURI committee, which did most of prep work on AI and held majority for a single lead for many weeks. However, by combining the JURI rapporteurship with the LIBE EPP Shadow role, Axel became - on paper - the 3rd leading MEP for the AI Act. Why? The JURI committee got a Rule 57+, meaning that Axel must be closely involved as JURI rapporteur by both lead rapporteurs from drafting period to end of trialogues (see below). Moreover, he can also intervene as LIBE EPP Shadow

The JURI committee has also 4 exclusive articles, where the IMCO/LIBE committees are forced to accept JURI's decision. The entire rest of the AI Act falls under shared competences, meaning that JURI's ideas must be either included in the final IMCO/LIBE report or - at least - put to a vote.

Both the ITRE and the CULT committee have a 'normal' Rule 57, with 2 exclusive competences in case of ITRE committee. The ENVI and TRAN committee have simple Rule 56 opinions. The last 3 committees will struggle to make a mark as Rule 56/57 committees are unfortunately often ignored.

What does that mean for the AI Act? The COP decision was a complete clusterfuck & made it almost impossible for the European Parliament to adequately address cross-sectorial AI issues. I expect long and heated debates and have not much hope for more than an OKish final report. The plenary vote will likely not happen before Dec 2022.

I hope this AI Act post made the situation in the European Parliament a bit clearer to you. If you want to know more about its legislative procedures and why I think that massive reforms are necessary, check out my recent European View article for the Martens Centre.