Italy’s G7 Presidency: Focus on AI Regulation, African Development, and Ukraine Support

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In an message on 4 December 2023, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni outlined the key priorities for Italy during its presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) for the year. The G7, an organization of the world’s largest advanced economies, leads Italy from January to December 2024, and under Meloni’s leadership the country must tackle several important global challenges.

One of the central themes of the Italian presidency of the G-7 will be the regulation of AI (AI). This focus is not unexpected given Italy’s proactive stance on AI in recent years, including the temporary ban and subsequent reinstatement of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in 2023 after complying with data processing restrictions. Italy’s data protection authority has been particularly vigilant about the use of AI in data collection and storage, launching a fact-finding investigation into these practices. Meloni highlighted the profound impact of AI on the labor market and the need to address these challenges, signaling plans for a special AI-focused session of G7 members ahead of the first leaders’ summit in June.

The G7 has discussed artificial intelligence (AI) in the past, before the Italian presidency in 2023. It should be noted that during the G7 summit held from 19 to 21 May 2023, AI emerged as an important area of ​​focus. This top stressed the need for a strong alliance among G7 countries to address emerging AI technologies in line with core values ​​such as democracy and human rights. The G7 Digital and Technology Ministers meeting, held shortly before the summit, specifically discussed responsible AI and global AI governance.

This focus on AI was driven by the rapid integration of AI technologies into society, including the release of advanced AI models such as GPT-4. The G7 recognized the importance of developing and implementing AI in a way that is consistent with values ​​such as freedom, democracy and human rights. The G7 statements highlighted principles such as fairness, accountability, transparency and safety, reflecting the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) AI Principles.

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The G7 also highlighted the potential risks associated with AI. These include online bullying, hate speech, threats to children’s safety and privacy, and the misuse of AI to spread misinformation or undermine democratic values. There was also a strong emphasis on the need for international cooperation to protect intellectual property rights and promote transparency in generative AI. The “Hiroshima AI Process” was introduced as a framework for discussions on generative AI to be held in collaboration with the OECD and the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI).​​​​

Another major focus of Italy’s G7 presidency will be support African Development. Meloni stressed the importance of building cooperation and strategic relations with African nations based on equality and mutual respect. She emphasized the need for investments and strategies that empower local economies and improve living standards in African countries, thereby addressing the root causes of migration to Europe. This approach, Meloni believes, is crucial for sustainable development and stability in the region.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is also expected to be a major area of ​​focus. Meloni reaffirmed Italy’s continued support for Ukraine in its war against Russia, arguing for a balance of power on the ground to encourage a diplomatic solution. The G7 position on Ukraine, especially in terms of aid and political strategy, will be a topic of discussion during the Italian Presidency. In addition, the conflict in the Middle East, especially the conflict in Gaza, will be a cause for concern, with Italy insisting on protecting civilian lives and seeking a more permanent solution to the Palestinian issue.​​​​

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