The European Union is likely to reach a political agreement this year that will pave the way for the world’s first major artificial intelligence (AI) law, the bloc’s tech regulation chief Margrethe Vestager said.

This follows a preliminary deal reached by members of the European Parliament to push through the draft of the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act to a vote by a committee of lawmakers. Parliament will then thrash out the bill’s final details with EU member states and the European Commission before it becomes law.

Vestager said the AI Act was “pro-innovation” since it seeks to mitigate the risks of societal damage from emerging technologies. “The reason why we have these guardrails for high-risk use cases is that cleaning up after a misuse by AI would be so much more expensive and damaging than the use case of AI in itself,” Vestager added.

While the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act is expected to be passed by this year, lawyers have said it will take a few years for it to be enforced. But Vestager stressed businesses could start considering the implication of the new legislation. “There was no reason to hesitate and to wait for the legislation to be passed to accelerate the necessary discussions to provide the changes in all the systems where AI will have an enormous influence,” she explained in an interview.