Payments within the consortium in Horizon 2020

Each consortium may specify in the Consortium Agreement (CA) its own regulations concerning the allocation and transfer of payments from the EU Commission to the contracting parties.


The Grant Agreement (GA) stipulates that the coordinator is obliged to distribute the payments from the EU Commission to the beneficiaries “without unjustified delay” (see article 21.7 GA). However, this is a so-called "default rule", which may be amended by an individual agreement in the Consortium Agreement (CA).

For example, the contracting parties may agree that ...

  • individual contracting parties receive a larger or smaller part of the pre-financing payment than corresponds to their share of the budget
  • individual contracting parties do not receive any pre-financing payment at all

The contracting parties often agree on a "payment plan" for transferring the paymenst in several instalments (i.e. a portion of the respective payment will only be transferred after a specific period of time has elapsed and/or evidence of adequate work progress has been provided). Often it is agreed that if a contracting party does not carry out its tasks as agreed, further payments will be retained.

The CA often provides that the amounts paid to the individual beneficiaries may not exceed the share allocated to them in the current version of the budget (Please note: This share does not necessarily correspond to what is stated in Annex 2 of the GA, since not all budget transfers require an amendment!). Any surplus remaining at the time of the balance payment may be distributed among the contracting parties who have spent more than their allocated share of the budget.

Most CAs stipulate that financial matters are decided upon by a consortium body. It is also possible, however, to include a specific agreement in the CA on how an eventual surplus should be allocated at the end of the project. The following non-binding suggested wording for such an agreement has been kindly provided to us by Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft:

A Party that spends more than its allocated share of the budget as set out in the Consortium Plan will be funded as follows:

  1. Funding in accordance with its duly eligible costs up to their allocated share of budget will be reimbursed in full.
  2. Funding in accordance with its duly eligible costs exceeding the allocated share of budget will be reimbursed proportionally on condition that such funds are available at the end of the project (e.g. budget not spent by other partners).
    Such reimbursement will be calculated as follows:

a.   If the total amount of budget overspending is lower than the total amount of budget not spent the individual budget overspendings will be funded in full.

b. If the total amount of budget overspending exceeds the total amount of budget not spent the redistribution will be calculated using the following formula: Total amount of budget not spent / total amount of budget overspending = percentage of individual budget overspending that will be paid to partner. Any other mode of calculation requires a majority decision of the General Assembly.

The CA may also contain a separate allocation key for the entire EU grant. This means that the allocation of the grant within the consortium is different from the costs declared by the individual beneficiaries and approved by the EU Commission.

Since the consortium is given substantial flexibility in this respect, it is in the contracting parties' own interest to accurately examine the financial provisions in the CA prior to signing.


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Mag. Tamara-Katharina MITISKA
Mag. Tamara-Katharina MITISKA
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Robert WOREL
Robert WOREL
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