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Cities and regions contribute to the development of artificial intelligence  

Ethical guidelines and legislative proposals at European level are urgently needed to ensure that the major socio-economic transformations triggered by artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to a better quality of life for European citizens, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) states in an opinion drafted by Jan Trei (EE/EPP), Mayor of Viimsi Rural Municipality.

In a recent communication the European Commission sets out a European initiative on AI, aiming to boost the EU's technological and industrial capacity and AI uptake across the economy and to prepare for socio-economic changes it is bringing. However, EU's cities and regions regret that the proposed measures are not enough binding and ambitious and do not cover the public sector at local and regional level.

Rapporteur Jan Trei points out that, "by developing and automating local services, be it self-driving public transport or smart solutions in social welfare and health care, cities and regions participate in the development of local AI ecosystems. This includes applying artificial intelligence to e-government and to different e-services in education".

Trei's opinion, which was adopted at the CoR plenary session this week, stresses that the EU’s various funding instruments, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds , Horizon Europe , Digital Europe and Erasmus , must be better dovetailed to advance artificial intelligence, and calls for a clear vision to this effect. It also underlines the importance of establishing digital innovation hubs in all EU regions and highlights that bolstering interregional cooperation through smart specialisation strategies would pave the way for artificial intelligence in both public and private sectors through demand-led innovation and collective solutions.

While recognising the huge added value AI can create through new goods, services and innovations, the CoR considers it crucial to guarantee privacy and the rights of the individual. The opinion also underlines that local and regional authorities must be given retraining opportunities and financial resources so that retraining can be organised in relation to those jobs that will be transformed or cease to exist because of artificial intelligence.


Lauri Ouvinen

Tel. +32 22822063

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