“Reasonable requirements on pay transparency can be part of the answer,” said Markus J. Beyrer, head of BusinessEurope, a lobbying group. “However, the key to improve gender equality is to address the root causes of inequalities, especially gender stereotypes, labor market segregation and insufficient provision of child care.”

Mr. Beyrer said the commission must respect “national social partners’ competences” and should not “complicate human resources management with excessive administrative burdens and open the way to undue litigation.”

According to Ms. Jourova, “binding rules” are required, not just reliance on the social responsibility undertaken by companies. “We see that it doesn’t lead anywhere,” she said.

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