The Prime Minister and Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso jointly chaired talks with seven EU leaders on the sidelines of a summit in Brussels, with Mr Cameron acknowledging the Commission's "excellent job" so far in repealing nearly 6000 pieces of EU legislation since 2005.
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In return, 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 he accepted that, without lowering standards of consumer protection, health and safety and environmental concerns, 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 Prime Minister said businesses now wanted more deregulation to cut costs and bureaucracy "to enable them to compete and succeed".
He added: "The Commission has done an excellent job in lifting the burden of bureaucracy. Now I want to get business engaged."
The question is whether Brussels and Britain can agree on exactly which areas now need targeting. Mr Barroso highlighted the digital agenda as an area needing common EU rules, but at the summit yesterday, Mr Cameron singled out Commission plans for tighter data protection laws as an example of something threatening disproportionate additional costs, particularly on small firms.