|Summit location||Kyōshima, Shimachi, Akashi|
• Treaty of Handon
It promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, security, educational, and sociocultural integration among members. It operates a trade bloc and common market, and a single currency band.
The CS was established by the Treaty of Handon in 1957. Its founding states were Kirisaki, Akashi, and Schottia. The main motivations for the treaty were economic cooperation and mutual development; a secondary ambition was to create a diplomatic bloc that would be a counterweight to Tyranian great powers such as Ossoria and Acrea.
Early expansion took place with the accession of Megelan in 1957 and Gylias in 1958, both countries recovering from devastating wars at the time. While at first a recipient of development assistance, Gylias became a staunch supporter of CS integration, with its delegates providing many future ideas and policies.
The first CS Commissions took office in 1959. A key member was Megelan's Gina Campanelli, who served as Chair of the Economic Commission until 1983. She was recognised for her role in developing CS economic policies, and establishing close relations with finance ministers that were essential to successful economic integration.
During the 1960s, a distinctive CS economic model emerged, aided by members' broadly leftist governments. Tenets of the model included strong state intervention, regulation, indicative planning, pursuit of full employment, and comprehensive social security and redistribution programs. Key aspects of the model included the Hermes Programme, strict capital controls, and the Common Monetary System.
After a period of stagnation caused by internal asymmetries in the 1980s, economic growth and integration efforts resumed in the 1990s. The common market achieved completion, launching a process of aligning members' health, safety, environmental, and consumer protection standards.
The CS has 9 member states:
Additionally, two states are associates without full membership:
The Treaty of Handon states the main aim of the CS is to "ensure economic and social progress of member states by common action". This is to be achieved by promoting greater cooperation and integration among member states.
Methods employed to achieve balanced economic growth include the creation of a trade bloc and common market, monetary cooperation, and the coordination of common policies in various fields.
The CS Method
The "CS Method" refers to the CS' approach to solving issues, which emphasises consultation, consensus, cooperation, and coordination (the "four C's").
The CS' success depends on the willingness of member states to work together on issues. The avoidance of politicisation, emphasis on expertise, and primarily advisory process encourages cooperation, and provides members with a forum for conducting negotiations and working out areas of common action.
Lacking any vested powers to enforce decisions, the CS relies on setting an example, diplomacy, and engagement with citizens to ensure maintenance of standards of democracy and human rights.
The CS has two organs: the Common Sphere Council and Common Sphere Commissions. Both institutions are apolitical and do not possess supranational powers, working with members to achieve stated goals.
Common Sphere Council
The Common Sphere Council consists of one top-level delegate per member state. Delegates represent CS members, aid the negotiation and coordination of government policies, express confidence in serving commissioners, and scrutinise the operation of the Commissions.
In practice, many delegates are chosen from the diplomatic service.
Council delegates are always referred to as "Council delegates" or more formally "Common Sphere Council delegates" to prevent confusion with member states' local government positions.
Common Sphere Commissions
The Commissions consist of one commissioner nominated by each member and approved by majority vote. Commissions create and implement CS policy in cooperation with member states.
Commissioners require majority support (5 out of 9 member states) to assume and carry out their duties. Each commission chooses one of its members as chair to preside over meetings.
The Commission's term of office is 3 years, and mandates can be renewed based on the confidence of members.
There are currently 15 commissions, dealing with the following policy areas:
- Cultural Commission
- Economic Commission
- Education Commission
- Environment Commission
- Governance and Participation Commission
- Health Commission
- Infrastructure and Transport Commission
- Justice Commission
- Labour Commission
- Military Commission
- Regional Policy Commission
- Science and Technology Commission
- Security Commission
- Trade Commission
- Welfare Commission
The Commissions function in practice like parliamentary committees. They undertake research and make recommendations, draw together people of relevant expertise and specialised knowledge, and serve as a way for member states' governments to share information and coordinate actions.
In practice, most commissioners are drawn from experts, academics, civil servants, or civil society.
CS members have broadly similar economic profiles: post-industrial economies with large service sectors. Cornerstone economic policies enjoy a broad consensus, with manifestations including the Gylian consensus, Akashi's Yurikaran consensus, the Megelan model, and Delkora's Economic Rights Amendment.
The CS operates a common market and trade bloc, characterised by free circulation of labour, goods, services, and capital. Goods traveling within the CS are not subject to customs duties and import quotas, with some exemptions permitting member states to introduce non-tariff barriers to trade. In several member states, products coming from outside CS are subject to high tarriffs.
The Hermes Programme is used by member states as an important component of economic planning and cooperation.
The Common Monetary System (CMS) is the unified currency band of the CS. Fiscal and monetary policies are coordinated for the purpose of stabilising exchange rates. CS currencies maintain their values relative to one another by only appreciating or depreciating within a band against a currency basket comprised of the Ossorian, Acrean, and Svinian currencies.
The Common Fund provides direct financial and technical assistance and low-interest loans to member states for various development projects, and to reduce inequalities with disadvantaged countries, regions, or sectors. It is funded from shared trade and budget surpluses.
Common infrastructural policy is influenced by the CS' non-contiguous territory, and thus focuses primarily on air and water transport infrastructure. Coordination and joint infrastructure projects have resulted in most member states having highly developed high-speed rail systems.
CS membership is an issue that has at points achieved political salience in member states.
Broadly, there is both support (pro-CS) and opposition (anti-CS) to the CS. The issue is politically heterogeneous, cutting across established party lines, and four main stances can be distinguished:
- Dissolution: Hard opposition, seeking withdrawal from the CS or its abolition entirely.
- Restriction: Soft opposition, expressing opposition to certain aspects and seeking reforms and retrenchment.
- Preservation: Soft support, expressing approval of the CS in its current form and opposing further changes or enlargement.
- Reinforcing: Hard support, seeking greater integration and a strengthening of the CS as a supraregional organisation.
The failure of attempts to increase the CS' powers and transform it into more of a political–economic union is attributed to a variety of factors: irreconcilable differences among members' political and economic systems, non-contiguous territory, lack of an overarching identity, the need to craft policies acceptable to all members, and a prevailing public consensus of "lukewarm support".
Gylias and Megelan have been identified as the members most opposed to the strengthening of the CS, due to the strong influence of anarchism on their societies and governance. Other smaller states have similarly favoured preservation and opposed initiatives such as creating a Common Sphere Parliament out of fear it would give excessive influence to the most populous states.
Some right-wing groups are anti-CS due to a perception of it as a left-wing organisation, pejoratively calling it the "Commie Sphere". This played a role in the unsuccessful Delkoran withdrawal referendum of 1984, strengthening the association between opposition to the CS and right-wing politics.
CS membership has also contributed to closer ties and coordination between like-minded parties, such as the links between Gylias' National Bloc, Akashi's Moderate People's Party, and Delkora's New Conservatives, which share a progressive and socially liberal character.