"The galaxy has changed so much since we signed our first treaty." commented Lady Hegemon Stephanie Barefoot before the negotiations commenced, "The galactic civil war remains a pressing concern, but, new threats have emerged which treat the lawful-galaxy with contempt. And as the Executive Council meets on Taanab for a second time, we have agreed already that only by significant reform can we guarantee the peace and prosperity which has been the chief reward of membership in the Concordiate."
The text of the Second Treaty of Forsetti has been released, and we're getting our first look at what exactly the heads of state saw the need to adapt. Among the most substantial changes are those concerning membership in the alliance and its governance. While the first treaty allowed both governments and private corporations to sign the treaty, only governments were permitted a seat at the Executive Council, by far the organization's most important body. By privileging the old guard in such a way as to stack the cards against newcomers, the issue of structure became a thorny one amongst the heads of state at each new accession hearing. New guidelines have flattened the hierarchy of the organization and opened up numerous areas to involvement by all members of the group. "The Galactic Concordiate began as a way to formalize the relationship between those governments which did not sign the revised treaty of the Imperial Union. As successful as this format has been, we have recognized its insular character for some time." explained Viceroy Jacob Jansen, "Beyond that, there are many territories across the galaxy where sovereignty does not rest with a government, but, instead we see many planets, systems, and even whole sectors governed by corporate rule. Often these areas are the only respite from pirates and gangs in their local area. By favoring official governments, we have inadvertently excluded many billions of sentients from the protections and prosperity which the Concordiate offers. We hope that with these changes we can open up our partnership to all those in our galaxy who believe that only through coming together, can we achieve the real benefits of peace."
Viceroy Jansen addressed the alliance's position on accessing member technology, another key point of the revised treaty. "We want to make it clear that we are an alliance for everyone, from modest manufacturing firms to governments of all sizes, and regardless of technological capability. We provide a forum for cooperation, that's true, but the trade of technology is handled as a strictly bilateral affair. With the language we have in place in this new treaty, individual members have the assurance that as members of the alliance, their technology cannot be pressured from them."
Significant changes were also made to the mutual defense agreement. Regent Nohv Schiller stated that "The first treaty had a somewhat impractical defensive agreement. Members were obligated to respond militarily to, potentially, anywhere in the galaxy in which an attack on the Concordiate had taken place. We have revised the treaty in this respect to allow for the organization to vote on military and non-military interventions, and for individual members to choose whether they wish to accede or not to these motions. The new treaty will therefore still allow for the most powerful members of the alliance to intervene in the defense of others with military force, where it is practical for them to do so. We think that these new provisions keep conflicts from escalating needlessly. Members are obviously encouraged to build diplomatic relations with other members, and defensive pacts, too, as they see fit."
Perhaps the most surprising development to come out of the meeting was the news that the Hapes Consortium elected not to sign the revised treaty. Sources close to the Fountain Palace have said that the Consortium took advantage of this opportunity to reassess its position in the galaxy, and that it did not object to the treaty in principle. "On behalf of the people of the Consortium," said King Kadrim, "I would like to express our gratitude to all those who we have worked with during these years within the Galactic Concordiate to maintain the stability, peace and prosperity of our societies. I am confident the second Galactic Concordiate will find great success in expanding its horizons and boundaries well beyond what it has ever seen before, and I sincerely wish them all the best with their future endeavours." The King has vowed to retain Hapes' close relations with the "big four" original members.
The Second Treaty of Forsetti represents an enormous shift in the diplomacy of the post-Imperial Union Concordiate. Rooted in the sovereignty of its members, the Second Concordiate expresses a vision for the rule of law and peaceful coexistence that is best expressed by the collective action of like-minded and independent states. By offering up an inclusive multilateral vision of neutral politics, a formerly insular defensive alliance has been reformed into a vehicle for neutral powers to seize the opportunity for creating an intergalactic order separate from the conflict-ridden priorities of the Imperial Union and the Galactic Alliance.