View photo French Finance Minister http://lindseyndyc.kazeo.com Michel Sapin leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris December 22, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Austria will spearhead fresh efforts by eleven European finance ministers to reach a deal on an elusive financial transactions tax, France's finance minister said on Monday. The tax, first proposed in the 1970s to penalise currency speculators, was seized on by France and Germany in 2012 as a political symbol to correct the excesses that were blamed for the worst financial crisis in a generation. But talks became mired in http://www.nexopia.com/users/miguelvlzn/blog/80-obama-to-meet-privately-with-senate-democrats-on-strategy-abc-news disputes over how to levy the tax and whether to include derivatives. Various countries tried to win exemptions for securities that would hit their own financial institutions particularly hard, raising doubts on whether the tax would ever exist. France and Austria sent a letter last week to the nine other European countries, proposing to make a fresh start with the talks and seek to apply it to a wide range of transactions but at low rates from next year. "We maintain our objective to reach a milestone - we'll see which one - by January 2016," French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said after the ministers discussed plans for the tax http://www.nexopia.com/users/miguelvlzn/blog/77-obama-adviser-gruber-admitted-obamacare-might-not-be-affordable-fox-news in Brussels. He said that after acknowledging they hadn't made much progress so far the ministers decided one minister would have to drive the discussions and appointed Austria's Hans-Joerg Schelling to do so.