The management of the partnership requires various agreements at different stages of its implementation, which allows for an appropriate way of working to achieve the objectives set. For each type of European Partnership, currently available information on needed agreements is summarised below. Furthermore, some draft examples of agreements are given through links under ‘Related Files’.

Co-programmed Partnerships

Legal form: Contractual Arrangement / Memoranda of Understanding signed between representatives of the partners (typically the association(s) representing the private sector) and the Commission. 

Who signs typically:

  • For the European Commission: the Commissioner responsible;
  • The partners: organised in one (or more) associations representing their members (industry, research organisations etc.);
  • Member States: high-level representative of the respective national ministry / administration;

Content of the Contractual Arrangement / Memoranda of Understandings:

  • objectives,
  • key performance and impact indicators, outputs to be delivered,
  • the governance structure as well as
  • the related commitments 

On 14 June 2021, the Commission adopted Commission Decision C(2021)4113 on the approval and signature of the memoranda of understanding for 11 Co-Programmed Partnerships. 

Co-funded Partnerships

Legal form: Grant Agreement (programme co-fund action) signed between a consortium of beneficiaries and the Commission (executive agency managing the project, unless kept in-house). The Horizon Europe grant agreement is based on a General Model Grant Agreement, including only some specific rules for Co-funded Partnerships.

Partner (beneficiary) in the grant agreement:

  • Legal entities that implement the activities and produce costs that are eligible under the grant agreement;
  • Core of the consortium: Programme owners/managers (nominated by participating states);
  • Others in addition.

Important: define ex-ante for each co-funded partnership:

  • Types of partners needed to form the partnerships (consortium);
  • Stakeholders that provide input (e.g. priority setting);
  • Stakeholders and target groups that are addressed by / involved in the activities implemented.

In addition to the Grant Agreement all beneficiaries must sign a Consortium Agreement (CA). Each consortium should define its own structures and rules according to its specific requirements. To support the preparation of specific Consortium Agreements, ERA-LEARN provides a model CA template based on DESCA. 

Institutionalised Partnerships

Legal basis: Article 185 and Article 187 of the TFEU requires the preparation and adoption of a Commission proposal (including ex-ante impact assessment). These partnerships are implemented by dedicated structures created for that purpose.

Article 185: Decision of European Parliament and Council; Implementation Structure: designated by Member States

Article 187: Council Regulation; Implementing Structure: Joint Undertaking (Union Body); The Regulation – a single basic act – aims to align the way these Joint Undertakings operate.

Areas for possible institutionalised European Partnerships (based on Article 187 and 185 TFEU) are identified in Annex Va of the Horizon Europe regulation.

Institutionalised partnerships will only be implemented where other parts of the Horizon Europe programme, including other types of partnership, would not achieve the desired objectives or expected impacts.

Related Files

Model Consortium Agreement for co-funded European Partnerships

In addition to the Grant Agreement it is compulsory for all beneficiaries to sign a Consortium Agreement.
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