Vittorio Colao warns that an EU exit could cause a rethink in how Vodafone operates
Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao has urged the UK to stay in Europe, warning that a potential exit from the union could damage business.
Speaking at a Q&A roundtable in London following the release of Vodafone’s yearly financial results, Colao (pictured) said that any change to the UK’s status would cause a rethink in how it operates.
Vodafone runs networks in more than 20 countries worldwide, including eight in Europe.
Colao said: “We are in favour of a single digital market and we would try to get the same benefits, but from being outside. That’s why, as a company, it is in the interests of our shareholders and our customers that Britain does not leave the EU.
“The creation of a single digital market and of a single economic space that compares in size with the US and China is in their interest.”
The UK government has agreed to renegotiate the UK’s position within the EU, looking for reform on a range of issues that could affect businesses including the free movement of people, the return of unspecified “powers” and the ability to block legislation from Brussels.
Once a deal has been negotiated, David Cameron has promised to put the terms to the general public via a referendum, which is expected to take place in 2017, leaving two years of uncertainty for businesses.
Colao dismissed the likelihood that this uncertainty of a two year build-up to a referendum could have a negative impact on Vodafone, saying: “Uncertainty is never good for business, but we are a very large company, which makes us quite adaptive to any scenario, so we will just wait for the will of the British people.
“We love the UK, it is a beautiful place to have a headquarters and is convenient for controlling our interests. The worry about the referendum is more to do with fragmentation of markets.
“The actualisation of bigger markets is much better for us, for our shareholders and for our customers.”