NEW TAX: A group of 11 European Union countries was cleared to work on the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, potentially raising billions in new revenue to help prop up shaky banks.
WHO IT TAXES: The tax is designed to help pay for the rescue of Europe's banks and discourage risky trading. It would apply to anyone in the 11 countries who makes a bond or share trade or bets on the market using complex financial products called derivatives.
THE BACKGROUND: Europe's banking industry has been one of the main causes of the euro area's three-year financial crisis. Some governments have had to rescue banks which nearly collapsed because of bad property investments.