II.5.1 Contracting Phase
Once a project proposal is selected for funding by the programme MC, it may have to fulfil conditions for approval set forth by the MC before a subsidy contract is offered. In such cases, this requires revisions of the application form, submitted by the lead applicant, within a given deadline. This contracting phase ends upon confirmation by the MA/JS that all conditions for approval were fulfilled by the project.
It is important to note that costs incurred by the partnership in the contracting phase shall be covered by the lump sum for preparation and contracting costs. If foreseen in the application form, the lump sum is paid to projects that successfully sign the subsidy contract with the MA (for further information please refer to chapter III.1.4). Consequentially, such costs shall not be claimed under project implementation.
When all conditions for approval are fulfilled, a subsidy contract between the MA and the LP is concluded. The subsidy contract is an agreement that, in compliance with the “lead partner principle”, is established between the City of Vienna, acting as programme MA, and the LP. The subsidy contract constitutes the legal framework for the implementation of the project. It confirms the final ERDF commitment to the project, it sets out the conditions for support and it provides for implementing arrangements. The most recent version of the approved application form is an integral part of the subsidy contract. A model of the subsidy contract is available at the programme website.
The LP has two months for accepting the subsidy contract offer sent by the MA/JS. To accept it, the LP shall send back to the MA/JS two original print-outs of the subsidy contract that are dated, initialled on all pages, stamped and signed by the legal representative of the LP institution. Alternatively, the subsidy contract can also be signed and returned digitally with a qualified electronic signature that is compliant with the eIDAS Regulation (Regulation (EU) No. 910/2014). The MA will then send back to the LP a countersigned copy of the subsidy contract.
If the LP does not accept the subsidy contract offer within two months, the offer loses validity unless the MA agrees to a prolongation of this period of time.
II.5.2 Setting Up the Partnership Agreement
The LP shall define legal arrangements for relations with the project partners (PPs) in an agreement that foresees provisions that, inter alia, guarantee the sound financial management of the funds allocated to the project, including the arrangements for a recovery of amounts unduly paid. While the subsidy contract establishes a legal basis between the MA and the LP, the partnership agreement establishes a legal basis between the LP and all PPs.
The Interreg CE Programme provides a model of the partnership agreement. The model contains only the minimum compulsory requirements. Additional elements may be included in order to tailor the agreement to the needs of a partnership. Additional provisions included in the document must in any case be in line with the programme objectives and the legal framework mentioned in the subsidy contract and partnership agreement model.
The partnership agreement must be signed (in written or with a qualified electronic signature) by the LP and all PPs, either in one single document or as bilateral documents between the LP and each PP. In case the bilateral option is chosen, all bilateral agreements must include a clause that interlinks them.
The partnership agreement shall be signed within three months after the subsidy contract enters into force. No payments will be transferred to the project until the partnership agreement is signed by all the partners. The LP has to provide evidence of the signing of the partnership agreement to the MA/JS. The MA reserves the right to check the partnership agreement in order to verify that it has been signed and that it meets the minimum requirements set by the programme.
 Article 26 of Regulation (EU) 2021/1059