Civil law, as an integral part of private law, is currently influenced by European harmonization and unification tendencies, even though there are certain trends favouring legal pluralism and solely spontaneous harmonization of law. The most comprehensive solution of private law unification in Europe would be to adopt a European Civil Code. This idea, despite the fact that the European Civil Code enthusiasm of the nineties has already, as it seems, vanished, is still present in the European academic and political arena, even though it is regarded rather as a long-term aim of private law unification. The present article consisting of three parts deals with this long road towards the European Civil Code that private law in the European Union is on. In the first part of the article, the author deals with the current situation of civil law in the context of harmonization and unification tendencies and describes the forms of unification of law; characterizes the initiatives in the field of civil law unification in Europe and analyzes the four options of action in the field of contract law presented by the Commission.