Brexit Anxiety Eats Into NATO Summit

Brexit Anxiety Eats Into NATO SummitBrexit Anxiety Eats Into NATO Summit

The talk at this week's NATO summit in Warsaw was apparently all about deterring a resurgent Russia, supporting Ukraine and Afghanistan, and protecting Baltic NATO members.

But in the corridors, there was only one dominant anxiety: Brexit.

Britain's referendum vote to leave the European Union has triggered uncertainty across the Atlantic and around the continent, which spilled over at the NATO event, Reuters reported.

"It is probably not an exaggeration to say there is almost no other subject on the table when I get together with my colleagues," Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said of a Friday night dinner with his NATO counterparts.

"We are at a NATO meeting but most of the discussions have not been about NATO issues; they have been about the outcome of the referendum and the consequences," he added.

Outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron, greeted with more sympathy than reproach over the result that prompted him to resign, took every opportunity to reassure allies that Britain would remain fully committed to European and international security even though it was leaving the EU.

Indeed, NATO officials said the British, who have Europe's biggest defense budget, seemed at pains to compensate for Brexit by pledging more commitments to NATO operations.