This paper explores political drivers and policy process of the reform of the framework for Artificial Intelligence regulation and governance in the European Union (EU). Since 2017, the EU has been developing an integrated policy to tighten control and to ensure consumer protection and fundamental rights. This policy reform is theoretically interesting, raising the question of which conceptual approaches better explain it, and it is also empirically relevant, addressing the link between risk regulation and digital market integration in Europe. This paper explores the policy reform mainly by using two case study methods—process tracing and congruence procedure—using a variety of primary and secondary sources. It evaluates the analytical leverage of three theoretical frameworks and a set of derived testable hypotheses concerning the co-evolution of global economic competition, institutional structure, and policy preferences of domestic actors in shaping incremental approach to AI regulation in the EU. It is argued that all three are key drivers shaping the reform and explain the various stages of the policymaking process, namely problem definition, agenda-setting, and decision-making, as well as the main features of the outcome.
- Artificial Intelligence regulation
- Digital market integration
- European Union
- Incremental reform