According to the European Commission, the proper functioning of the internal market may be hindered by different national contract laws which cause problems in relation to cross-border contracts. Therefore, it has initiated a debate on finding solutions to approximate certain areas of contract law in order to remove possible barriers. Four solutions have been proposed, among which the idea of adopting a new instrument comprising harmonized provisions on general principles of contract law and specific contracts. This has been interpreted as an idea of harmonizing contract law by means of a single European Civil Code and has resulted in a wide-ranging discussion. Such an option is the most controversial and innovative and theoreticians do not agree as to the necessity of creating such a new measure as well as to the method of designing it. Four main problems have been brought: the Community legal basis for adopting the European Civil Code, the choice of the instrument (whether it should be a directive, a regulation or a recommendation), its scope (which fields of private law should be covered) and the binding nature of such a measure (whether an optional or a obligatory model). The article tackles all the above mentioned issues from the point of view of both theoreticians and the European Commission. It also presents the stages of development of the idea of an European Civil Code and how this option has been eventually pushed aside.
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