The Civil Service is a vital economic asset to the UK - firstly, in the way it creates a framework for excellence in service delivery and secondly, in how it helps organise the best way to deliver modern public services on which both businesses and individuals depend.
Some people argue that we should limit choice in favour of good local services. My response is simple: why should we assume those two concepts are mutually exclusive?
Yet in order to make sure the European social model keeps up with the pace of economic change that is now necessary, the EU must embrace a new approach to lawmaking.
My view is that targets, properly constructed and applied across public services have been fundamental to past successes and will be an essential part of sustaining progress into the future.
But we can turn challenges into opportunities if we look outwards to the realities of the global economy and modernise our internal institutions in ways that will equip Europe to meet that challenge and create confidence amongst the public.
But we need to show that the EU can modernise itself, can adapt to the needs of its citizens, can take their views into account. That will be our ambition for the UK Presidency.
Our aim, during our Presidency in the next six months will be to lead this challenge, to show that Europe can function in a mature and responsible way, to start delivering tangible results that show we are taking people's concerns seriously.
Having decisions made not in midnight deals but in the light of objective evidence and after consulting those who will be affected should itself provide some reassurance that the EU is trying to reform itself.
Advances in technology and in our understanding of illness and disease together with an expanded workforce and greater resources will allow us to provide more services to a higher quality.
Here in the UK the government has decided to accept the recommendations of the Better Regulation Task Force to measure and make targeted reductions in the administrative costs - the red tape costs - that regulations impose on business.