AI on European Court of Auditors’ Radar

AI is making its way virtually everywhere possible, and the European Court of Auditors is assessing taking action to support its development. The auditors will decide whether the European Commission’s plans and finances are conducive to positioning Europe as a global AI leader.

AI is key to the EU’s digital transition; however, Europe is lagging on financing. The amount invested in AI is estimated to be half the amount financed in the USA. Less than 1 in 10 businesses in the EU (8%) were using AI in 2021, with significant differences between EU countries. While almost 1 in every 4 companies in Denmark (24%) used AI and over 15% in Portugal (17%) and Finland (16%), this proportion fell below 5% in the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, and Lithuania (all 4%), in Bulgaria, Estonia, Cyprus, Hungary, and Poland (all 3%), and in Romania (1%).

 To compete in the race, the EU wants to allot nearly €10 billion from its budget between 2014 and 2027, and 20% of the €724 billion being made available under the pandemic recovery and resilience facility (RRF) will finance the EU’s digital transition. The InvestEU Fund will mobilize public and private investment through an EU budget guarantee of €6.6 billion for research, innovation, and digitization.

Auditors will examine whether the European Commission ensures that EU money effectively supports the creation of a proper and competitive European AI ecosystem, considering the strategic importance of AI and the potential risks to safety and security. The audit report is expected in about a year’s time.

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