Jean Leonetti, the European Affairs minister, told the French news agency AFP the levy would be introduced on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement, bypassing objections of Britain which is a leading critic of the proposed financial transactions tax, or FTT.
The issue is likely to top the agenda of a French-German summit on 9 January.
"It's on the agenda for the next European summit [30 January]. Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel have decided on the financial transactions tax and it will be put in place before the end of 2012", Leonetti told AFP.
Leonetti cited Franco-German agreement on the subject and the openness of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti to the idea as reasons for optimism. The European Commission had previously proposed that an FTT be implemented by 2014 (see Background).
Sarkozy, who faces elections in April-May of this year, has been one of the most vocal proponents of a European FTT, support for which he reiterated in his New Year's address.
However, the creation of such a tax in 2012 may be difficult because of opposition from Britain, which only accepts an FTT if it is applied globally, and Sweden, which had a negative experience with a national FTT between 1986 and 1991.
Protecting the City
The British government in particular has been strongly protective of the country's financial sector centred in London's finance district, the City. At the last summit of EU leaders on 8-9 December, Prime Minister David Cameron refused to participate in the so-called 'fiscal compact' treaty with other member states as it did not include provisions to exempt the City from new EU regulations.
Such opposition could make it impossible to apply an FTT to all 27 EU countries, leading some to suggest one could be implemented by a smaller group of countries or the eurozone alone.
Last month however, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, told the New York Times that while he supported such a tax it "would have to include all the European Union".
EU diplomats told EurActiv there had been no formal work begun on an FTT proposal that might exclude certain states.
Preben Aamann, a Danish spokesperson, indicated that his country would "work loyally" on it. "We initiated this work yesterday (3 January) with the working group on direct taxation, that is a technical review of the FTT proposal," he said.
Denmark holds the rotating EU presidency and had previously expressed reservations about a Europe-wide FTT.