BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Finance ministers from European Union countries that want to adopt a common tax on financial transactions will hold a "last-chance meeting" on Thursday to agree on the tax or ditch it, an official participating in the talks said on Tuesday.
In December, 10 EU countries set a June 2016 deadline to find a final compromise on the levy that was initially devised in 2011 as an EU-wide tax but has seen several setbacks since then and most countries quitting the project.
Representatives of countries still interested in the tax will meet to try to sort out the remaining divergences on the sidelines of a regular meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday.
Austrian Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling, the chair of the group, "will push for a decision", his spokesman said.
"From his point of view it is time to say 'yes' or 'no'," the spokesman added. At the beginning of June, Schelling said that if the discussions did not bring a deal in June, he would step down as chairman.
A European official taking part in the negotiations said Thursday's talks would be a "last-chance meeting".
Ministers have postponed the deadline for adopting the tax several times and this may happen again on Thursday, the official said, but patience is wearing thin.
A second official said ministers could not agree how to apply the tax. No deal has ever been reached on the possible rate of the levy.
Of the 28 EU member states, the 10 countries still considering the tax are Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Estonia left the group in December. Belgium and Slovenia have also shown doubts about the tax. EU rules require a minimum of nine supporting countries for the project to get under way.
Several EU countries already apply a national tax on financial transactions. Supporters of the levy argue that applying it consistently across more countries would make it more effective.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Adrian Croft)