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Google unlikely to have to move jobs and offices after Brexit: Eric Schmidt

Google is unlikely to change any of its operations in Europe as a result of Britain's decision to leave the European Union (EU), Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of parent company Alphabet said on Thursday.

Last week, Brits voted in referendum to leave the EU, sending financial markets into turmoil and sparking a political crisis in the U.K.

There are many concerns over what this might mean for many of the EU laws that the U.K. is signed up for and companies are uncertain about what the future holds. Britain has yet to invoke Article 50 - the legal process that will lead to its exit from the EU.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, speaks on stage at the Viva Technology conference in Paris on Thursday, June 30.
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, speaks on stage at the Viva Technology conference in Paris on Thursday, June 30.

A handful of firms have already talked about the possibility of moving operations out of the U.K.. Both Vodafone and airline easyJet are evaluating whether some jobs may have to be relocated.

But despite the uncertainty, Schmidt said it'll be unlikely Google will start moving around employees and offices.

"I think it's unlikely Google will change our allocation ... we have large operations in Ireland in Britain in France, in Germany ... you never know, but it'd be hard for me to imagine we would make much of a change," Schmidt said during a speech at the Viva Technology conference in Paris.

But the Alphabet chair expressed concern over the possibility of the European digital market becoming more fractured.


Currently, technology firms benefit from certain rules aimed at making scaling across all of the member states as easily as possible. The EU is also pushing its "digital single market" agenda which is aimed at harmonizing laws across all member states, making it easier for technology start-ups to access 500 million consumers.

"My concern is that we have been working on an integrated platform for digital and what I hope no matter what happens… (is) that we retain as common a platform as possible for digital," Schmidt said.

"Europe has suffered from a splintering of the market and I don't want anything to splinter that market further. We want it to be the same or as close as possible, because that gives entrepreneurs a bigger market."

Still, that did not stop Schmidt from expressing his disappointment towards the Brexit vote. When asked on stage by the interviewer if he understood the vote, Schmidt replied with a simple "no".