The Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence 2021 Review is the next step in creating EU global leadership in trustworthy AI. The plan is closely aligned with the Commission’s digital and green priorities, and with Europe’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It builds on the strong collaboration between the Commission and Member States established during the 2018 Coordinated Plan.
The 2018 Coordinated Plan was a joint commitment to maximise Europe’s potential to compete globally and an essential first step in defining actions and funding instruments for the uptake and development of AI across sectors. And, it encouraged Member States to develop national strategies.
Turning strategy into action, the 2021 Coordinated Plan’s key message is that the Commission and Member States should:
- accelerate investments in AI technologies to drive resilient economic and social recovery aided by the uptake of new digital solutions
- act on AI strategies and programmes by fully and timely implementing them to ensure that the EU fully benefits from first-mover adopter advantages
- align AI policy to remove fragmentation and address global challenges
In order to achieve this, the updated plan sets four key sets of policy objectives, supported by concrete actions and indicating possible funding mechanism and the timeline to:
- set enabling conditions for AI development and uptake in the EU
- make the EU the place where excellence thrives from the lab to market
- ensure that AI works for people and is a force for good in society
- build strategic leadership in high-impact sectors
Set enabling conditions for AI development and uptake in the EU
Create broad enabling conditions for AI technologies to succeed in the EU through acquiring, pooling and sharing policy insights, tapping into the potential of data and fostering critical computing infrastructure.
Make EU the place where excellence thrives from the lab to the market
Ensure that EU has a strong ecosystem of excellence including world-class foundational and application-oriented research and capabilities to bring innovations from the ‘lab to the market’. Testing and experimentation facilities (TEFs), European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs) and the European ‘AI-on-demand’ platform will play key role in facilitating a broad uptake and deployment of AI technologies.
Ensure that AI works for people and is a force for good in society
The EU has to ensure that AI developed and put on the market in the EU is human-centric, sustainable, secure, inclusive and trustworthy. The proposed actions focus on:
- nurturing talent and improving the supply of skills necessary to enable a thriving AI eco-system
- developing the policy framework to ensure trust in AI systems
- promoting the EU vision on sustainable and trustworthy AI in the world
Build strategic leadership in high-impact sectors
To align with the market developments and ongoing actions in Member States and to reinforce EU position on the global scale the review puts forward joint actions in seven sectors. These sectors are environment, health, a strategy for robotics in the world of AI, public sector, transport, law enforcement, migration and asylum, and agriculture.
The Commission proposed that the EU invests in AI at least €1 billion per year from the Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes. EU-level funding on AI should attract and pool investment to foster collaboration among Member States, and maximise impact by joining forces.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility provides an unprecedented opportunity to modernise and invest in AI. Through this the EU can become a global leader in the development and uptake of human-centric, trustworthy, secure and sustainable AI technologies.
Member States and the Commission have collaborated closely and met regularly to work on the main actions proposed in the 2018 Coordinated Plan. They progressed in all areas of the plan including by proposing a data strategy, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and creating conditions for excellence in research and development and uptake of AI in Europe.
Overall, the first two years of implementation confirmed that joint actions and structured cooperation between Member States and the Commission are key to the EU’s global competitiveness and leadership in AI development and uptake. Most Member States have adopted national AI strategies and started to implement them. Investments in AI have increased and the EU was able to mobilise critical resources to support these processes.
All Member States have made substantial efforts to develop national strategies on AI or to include an AI dimension in their existing strategies and programmes. The adoption of national strategies helped Member States to reflect on the priorities and objectives for the development and uptake of AI. And, it triggered wider public debate in many Member States.
19 countries out of 27, as well as Norway, have adopted national strategies. The remaining national strategies are in progress and expected to be published soon.
The 2021 review of the Coordinated Plan on AI Review invites Member States to review and update national AI strategies as required. Some Member States have already updated and reviewed their initial strategies.