The Council of Europe’s Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence unveiled its roadmap after its meeting on 23 September 2020. The Committee confirms its willingness to draw up a so-called ‘horizontal’ legal framework, i.e. cross-cutting rather than sectoral.
In order to achieve this ambitious project by the end of 2021, the Committee has set up 3 working groups:
- Policy Development Group.
- Legal Framework Group.
- Consultation and Outreach Group.
Despite the difficulties in organising the work due to the COVID pandemic, the committee is expected to deliver its first results in November. Indeed, the first part of the work was devoted to carrying out a feasibility study on a horizontal legal framework. The first draft of this study, expected in November, should make it possible to see more clearly the main elements to be put forward in the elaboration of a common legal framework. The more substantial part of the work should thus be able to begin on this basis at the beginning of 2021.
However, Annex I to the document gives indications on the content of the feasibility study by proposing a table draft. It shows that, beyond the States, the committee wishes to examine the role and responsibility of private actors. Moreover, all legal instruments – from the Convention to soft law – are envisaged to create this legal framework.
The Committee’s document also states that it wishes to place its work within the international framework in which many initiatives in this area are being developed. However, the document also shows the budgetary uncertainties and the Committee’s calls for the financial participation of States, which could be a hindrance to the realisation of a complete and effective legal framework project.
In any scenario, the work of the Council of Europe in this area will have to be closely monitored.