David Cameron will launch a new assault on EU red tape, challenging Brussels to scrap dozens of laws he says are tying small businesses up in knots.
The Prime Minister will use an EU summit on jobs and growth to repeat his insistence that making Europe competitive is key to restoring economic fortunes.
And unlocking competitiveness means freeing up firms to do business without unnecessary bureaucratic burdens, he will say.
Last week the European Commission announced a list of the most burdensome EU laws that SMEs hate the most and promised "further evaluation" or "legislative amendments" by June to tackle them. But the Prime Minister will warn against delays, knowing legal changes take months or years to introduce if allowed to sit on the back burner.
Among the SME "top 10" unwanted laws identified by Brussels are complex VAT laws; incoherent product safety rules; obstructions in cross-border recognition of professional qualifications; labour market-related legislation and cumbersome procedures for awarding public contracts.
Mr Cameron will call for an "action plan" by June on how SMEs can be exempted or more lightly regulated in the 10 areas. He will also press for renewed efforts to carry out a decision last December to scrap all existing and planned regulations which are no longer of use or where action is not needed at EU level.
Whitehall officials have been working to identify regulations which would be better dealt with at national or lower level, rather than the EU and although the Prime Minister will not be waving a list at the summit, he will be seeking backing from Germany and Nordic states in particular for slimming down laws on everything from the EU's soil directive to safety standards for hairdressers.
In a pre-summit letter to the leaders, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said his focus, too, was on the challenge of competitiveness: "Improving competitiveness is not an end in itself but a means to drive prosperity and sustain European living standards and values. It is an indispensable element to underpin growth and jobs and a permanent challenge in today's global environment and for large parts of the EU."
Mr Barroso warned that the economic crisis was not yet over, but the latest summit will hope to create a "back to business" mood amid signs that national efforts to revive economies are, in the words of Mr Barroso, "starting to bear fruit".
Tensions remain, though, between governments favouring austerity and those worried that tough cutbacks only stifle the green shoots of economy recovery. Draft summit conclusions due to be endorsed by the summit on Friday state: "The stagnation of economic activity forecast for 2013 and the unacceptably high levels of unemployment emphasise how crucial it is to accelerate efforts to support growth as a matter of priority."