Council of Ministers have agreed to allow Eiopa to intervene in companies under emergency conditions

Plans to set up a powerful new European insurance regulator have cleared a fresh hurdle.

At a meeting last week, the Council of Ministers backed an agreement hammered out earlier this month with the European parliament, which proposes the creation of a new insurance supervision agency.

Under the shake-up, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (Eiopa) will take over the work of the looser structured Committee for European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (Ceiops). The reform is designed to establish a more robust basis for supervision in Europe.

In the agreed deal, the European Parliament persuaded the Council of Ministers, which represents EU?member states, to give Eiopa power to intervene in individual companies under emergency conditions, such as the recent financial crisis.

Eiopa is one of three new regulators reporting to a European Systemic Risk Board that will provide macro-prudential oversight of the financial system.

The plans face a final hurdle when they are brought before the European Parliament for approval during its first plenary session starting on 20 September. It is hoped the new regulatory system will be up and running in January 2011.