EU Red Tape Battle: Cameron Backed By Barroso
The European Commission has backed David Cameron's call to slash more red tape which is hampering businesses across the EU.
In a display of unity, the Prime Minister and Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso jointly chaired talks with seven EU leaders on the sidelines of a summit in Brussels.
Mr Cameron has acknowledged the Commission's "excellent job" so far in repealing nearly 6,000 pieces of EU legislation since 2005.
But he has also told the gathering that businesses now needed more deregulation to cut costs and bureaucracy "to enable them to compete and succeed".
Mr Barroso agreed that more should be done to bring in "lighter, simpler, cheaper, common-sense regulation".
He insisted that EU action often meant replacing 28 different sets of national regulation with one set of rules for the whole union - something he said businesses needed in areas such as the single market and the growing digital agenda.
But Mr Barroso accepted that there were other areas where it was necessary to reduce the bureaucratic burden.
"That is why we have to slash red tape," he said.
The two men showed a united front at the private meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of Poland, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and Estonia. All are seen as close allies in the anti-red tape drive.
Mr Cameron also took with him what were described as "the best brains of business in Britain" - Marks & Spencer chief executive Mark Bolland and technology entrepreneur Dale Murray.
They are members of Mr Cameron's business taskforce team, which recently delivered a report making the case for light-touch regulation.
Their report said that relaxing rules on health and safety alone would save more than £2bn across Europe.
The summit has been overshadowed by a storm over allegations of US monitoring of Ms Merkel's mobile phone calls and French citizens.
There is increasing pressure for a summit declaration on the issue after further revelations, published in The Guardian, that the US also monitored the telephone conversations of 35 world leaders.