By Cindy Rose, UK Chief Executive of Microsoft
In May 2016, ahead of the EU referendum, we expressed Microsoft’s opinion that it would be better for the UK to remain in the European Union. However, we acknowledge the outcome of the EU referendum.
Foremost in our minds, then and now, are the needs of our employees, customers and partners. Microsoft employees work and their families live in every EU country. They have built their careers and lives there, and we have consistently advocated to government the need to provide certainty to our EU employees regarding their “right to remain” in the UK post-Brexit and for UK citizens to remain in the rest of the EU.
Many of our customers and partners operate businesses that rely on Microsoft’s cloud computing services. These businesses require the frictionless flow of data across borders in order to operate effectively. We have consistently advocated to the government the need to ensure this data flow continues post-Brexit.
The proposed agreement would preserve the rights of our UK and EU citizen employees and their families currently based in the UK and in the EU to remain where they live and work. The agreement also protects the businesses of our customers and partners by helping to ensure the free flow of data across borders. Leaving the EU with no deal would create significant uncertainty with respect to these two priorities. Microsoft, its employees and its customers need a workable deal, not “no deal”. The proposed agreement is both a necessary compromise and workable, leaving without a deal is neither. We therefore support the proposed agreement as the better option.