After the collapse of the European Commission’s plans to codify European contract law it is timely to reflect on what has been achieved over the past three or four decades, and for an assessment of the current situation. In particular, the production of a bewildering number of reference texts has contributed to a complex picture of European contract laws rather than a European contract law. These reference texts need to be critically examined and compared with each other. In addition, the discussion has to be tied back to the pertinent historical and comparative background, and the question must thus be asked to what extent the various existing reference texts constitute a manifestation of a common core of European contract law. This is what the new “Commentaries on European Contract Laws” have set out to do. The presentation will explain the background, aim and genesis of a landmark book recently published by the Oxford University Press.