European union finance ministers approved the introduction of a financial transaction tax by a group of 11 eurozone countries today.
The European Commission had suggested that trades in bonds and shares be taxed at 0.1 per cent and trades in derivatives at 0.01 per cent.
The money raised could run into billions of euros but it's still unclear how the funds raised would be used.
Some supporters have suggested that it could help to fund the EU budget and create a security net for banks.
Others have mooted poverty relief as a suitable destination for the cash, but EU governments have been unsurprisingly silent on that possibility.
Germany, France and nine other countries had initially hoped that the tax would be adopted by the whole EU.
However several countries, including Britain, refused to endorse the measure citing concerns over its economic impact on their market industries.
Many economists have blamed speculators and reckless trading for exaggerating the swings in financial markets during the 2008 crash and the so-called Tobin tax is intended to discourage such transactions.
But sceptical countries have warned that investors will simply move their trading activity to a different country in order to avoid paying it.
Last year's deadlock over the tax opened the possibility under EU law - using a so-called enhanced co-operation mechanism - for a group of more than nine nations to go ahead separately.
The 11 countries backing the tax are Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.