EU AI Act timeline

EU AI Act timeline

There are many checkpoints for the EU AI Act to pass through before it becomes legislation and before the law is applicable for all types of AI tools. While we are getting closer to a final vote in the European Parliament, there is some confusion as to when the law actually comes into effect. The answer will be different depending on what AI system we are talking about.

I've provided an overview here to quickly see what's next in line. Note that after the EU AI Act is voted into legislation there is a transition period, known as vacatio legis* (Latin for "absence of law"), wherein stakeholders who build or rely on automated systems are given time to adapt before anyone can actually hold them accountable. This transition period varies for different types of applications.

*Vacatio legis is sometimes jokingly referred to as "a legal act's holiday".

The timeline was updated on March 13 to indicate that the AI Act was approved by the EU parliament.

EU AI Act timeline for 2024 and forward

April 21, 2021

Three years ago, the European Commission proposed the first EU regulatory framework for AI.


Over the years, many hours have been spent debating and negotiating details of the proposed legislation.

December 9, 2023

The Parliament  reached a provisional agreement with the Council on the AI Act after 3-day ‘marathon’ talks.

February 2, 2024

The Council formally approved the final text of the AI Act in preparation for the plenary vote.

February 13, 2024

The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Civil Liberties Committees adopted the AI rulebook..

March 13, 2024

The European Parliament voted to approve the EU AI Act.

May 21, 2024

The Council of EU approves the AI Act as ready to be entered into the EUR-Lex Official Journal of the European Union.

+20 days

And 20 days after entered into the journal, the AI Act will enter into force. Let’s call it AIA-Day.

Vacatio legis

During a transitional period stakeholders are given time to “adapt” before legislation is applied.

AIA-DAY + 6 months

Applicability for prohibited AI systems comes first, perhaps as early as December 2024.

AIA-DAY + 12 months

Specific obligations regarding general purpose AI systems will be applicable after 1 year.

AIA-DAY + 24 months

Most other obligations will be applicable after 2 years, including rules for high-risk AI systems (Annex III).

AIA-DAY + 36 months

Specific obligations related to high-risk systems included in Annex II are applicable after 3 years

That's all folks!

It’s humbling to realise that it will likely be six years between the first draft proposal and the  AI Act coming into full enforcement. 


This isn’t the only legislation to monitor. EU member states may implement their own regulations in the interim with shorter compliance windows.

In my LinkedIn post you can view the timeline as a slideshow.
Press corner
Highlights, press releases and speeches

Press Release, December 9: Commission welcomes political agreement on Artificial Intelligence Act

Press corner
Highlights, press releases and speeches

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