European AI Regulation: Brussels Effect versus Human Dignity?

Zeitschrift für Europarechtliche Studien (ZEuS) 04/2022 - 755 - 772 -

24 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2022 Last revised: 13 Dec 2022

See all articles by Oskar Josef Gstrein

Oskar Josef Gstrein

University of Groningen; Europa-Institut, Saarland University

Date Written: September 9, 2022


The European Commission proposal for a legal framework to comprehensively regulate Artificial Intelligence (AI) came after years of public consultation and deliberation. Most prominently the AI High Level Expert Group (AI HLEG) prepared ethical guidelines and policy recommendations since 2018. While countries such as China and the United States, or international organisations such as the Council of Europe work on legal frameworks to regulate the development and use of AI, the European Commission’s proposal (AI Act or AIA) presented on 21 April 2021 seems to put the Union in the most powerful position to establish regulatory standards with global relevance for a key emerging technology. After shortly summarising the origin, context and main characteristics of the prospective regulation, this article explores whether the ‘Brussels Effect’ will manifest in ground-breaking AI regulation, or whether the Union and its Member States run the risk of hastily adopting an incapable legal framework for a technology whose effects on society are still insufficiently understood. Furthermore, it remains open whether the proposed AIA integrates with existing and emerging legal frameworks, potentially watering down the commitment of the EU to protect human rights and human dignity.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Regulation, AI Act, AIA, Brussels Effect, Human Dignity, Human Rights, Governance, Datafication

Suggested Citation

Gstrein, Oskar Josef, European AI Regulation: Brussels Effect versus Human Dignity? (September 9, 2022). Zeitschrift für Europarechtliche Studien (ZEuS) 04/2022 - 755 - 772 -, Available at SSRN: or

Oskar Josef Gstrein (Contact Author)

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV


Europa-Institut, Saarland University ( email )

Campus, Gebäude B2.1
Saarbrücken, 66123


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