The ongoing European integration has created a new challenge for private law in general: to elaborate a uniform European private law and a truly European legal science. In line with this development in 1989 and 1994 the European Parliament called for the preparation of a European Civil Code. A reply to this call was the development of a new field of legal comparative activity: the comparative research-based drafting of European private law. Family law, due to so-called "cultural constraints", has until recently remained almost completely outside those activities. Since the 1990s the fundamental reservation of family law scholars concerning harmonisation and unification has changed. A whole range of articles has appeared which have advanced different arguments for and against the harmonisation and unification of family law. The scientific debate surrounding this increasingly important and pressing question has so far been restricted to publications on the national level. However, a group of scholars from various European countries has recently taken the initiative to constitute the "Commission on European Family Law" with the aim being to study the feasibility of and to initiate practical steps towards the harmonisation of family law in Europe. Up until now, the opponents and supporters of harmonisation and unification have never had the opportunity to exchange their opinions at a representative meeting. This opportunity is urgently required.
Therefore, the time has now come to organize, for the first time in European history, a truly international conference where the experts can discuss all the aspects of arguments will be considered from a broad perspective:
1) In the context of the far-reaching harmonisation activities in the other areas of private law;
2) In relation to the unification of private international law in the EU;
3) In the context of the relationship between national family law and European law;
4) In relation to the influence of (European) human rights on national family law;
5) In relation to the experiences and initiatives towards unification in the USA, where each state has its own family law.