France and Germany hope Tuesday to round up the magic number of nine European Union states willing to take the lead and launch a hotly-contested cross-border financial transactions tax, or FTT.
Cyprus Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly said he anticipated a "challenging" discussion as he arrived to chair the talks given that even if Berlin and Paris get to nine, as looks likely, they will still need approval from their opponents so as to get the EU legislation passed.
A public debate from 0810 GMT tops the agenda for a second day of talks in Luxembourg as the 10 non-euro finance ministers join their 17 eurozone counterparts whose focus Monday was the conditions for resuming Greece's bailout and the launch of a new 500-billion-euro ($650 billion) rescue fund.
Ministers also expect tough talking over plans for a top-down bank sector supervisory regime based on the European Central Bank for all 27 EU states, with the non-euro countries especially concerned that they may lose influence.
The FTT is the main goal for the big EU two, with French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici saying "I wouldn't rule out us getting the nine" after what he said was a "pleasant" exchange on Monday with his Italian counterpart Vittorio Grilli.
Attempts by the European Commission in June to introduce the tax -- aimed at curbing the market excesses that led to the 2008 global financial crisis -- failed to win enough support across the full EU, in part due to British concerns over the City of London's future.
Now Berlin and Paris are seeking permission for a smaller group of countries to go ahead on their own.
Moscovici said the revived FTT plan had "met sufficient success to now be seen, I think, as credible."
By the close Monday, seven EU states had sent the required letters to the European Commission seeking a new FTT proposal under "enhanced cooperation," which needs the active support of one third of EU members to proceed.
Alongside France and Germany, Austria, Belgium, Portugal and Slovenia, on Monday Greece became the latest to join the push, an Athens diplomat and a Commission official told AFP.
An EU source on Friday said Estonia also favoured the introduction of the tax, while Italy's support seemed likely judging by Moscovici's comments.
Under the Commission's earlier proposals, a tax of 0.1 percent would have been levied on share and bond trades, and 0.01 percent on other transactions, generating billions of euros in revenue.
The idea, which has its roots in the 1970s, is championed by those wanting to take back some of the gargantuan profits earned by the banks and to curb the 'greed is good' culture which led to dangerous excesses on the markets.
The FTT's backers will still need to gather support from those states who do not want such a tax, as endorsement by a qualified majority is required to proceed with any initiative under enhanced cooperation.
That especially means getting Britain on board given its fierce defence of the City of London financial district, one of the largest and most important in the world.
Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager said on arrival for the talks that the Netherlands "is not in favour of an FTT" but diplomats for key opponents said they would not stand in the way of the plans.
One non-eurozone diplomat, however, warned it would not be plain sailing going forward.
"Once Croatia enters the EU in July, they will need 10 not nine," he said, "and even if they get a green light today, it's only for a proposal -- opening up the old arguments about how the tax actually works."