The EU's tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta said Tuesday that 11 eurozone states have said they support launching a financial transactions tax, indicating the controversial project can move forward.
"Four additional member states intend to join the enhanced cooperation, which means we arrive at 11," Semeta said after talks among ministers that saw four governments -- Italy, Spain, Slovakia and Estonia -- declare themselves for the tax, sources said.
Nine states are needed to push forward an initiative among a group of EU states under the bloc's "enhanced cooperation" provisions, although a qualified majority must later approve the plans.
The four states spoke up during a round-table that was only partially broadcast, with an Italian government spokesman and a counterpart with the Cyprus rotating presidency confirming the list.
They will now write to the European Commission requesting legislation be drawn up to introduce the tax, joining initial proposers France and Germany, plus Austria, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and Slovenia.
Semeta said that member states "should be very clear that agreement on the FTT is a separate issue that has to be discussed here," with disagreement notably on whether revenues would go into a mooted eurozone central budget or be retained by national treasuries.
Britain's George Osborne said he would not stand in the way, but maintained a "specific proposal" was now required before it could guarantee that it would wave through enhanced cooperation among other EU states.
He raised a string of questions, raising the prospect of a lengthy negotiation over the design of the tax, including "does it cover equities, derivatives and foreign exchange transactions?"