Tampons have become the latest flashpoint in Britain's troubled relationship with the European Union.

EU opponents have joined feminist campaigners to fight Europe's "tampon tax" on women's sanitary products.

Campaigners say tampons should not be included among "non-essential luxury items" that are subject to sales tax. Essentials including food, children's clothing and books are exempt.

Britain's opposition Labour Party sought this week to get the government to press Brussels for an exemption. They were backed by Euroskeptic politicians who cited the tax as an example of EU interference in British life.

The measure was defeated in Parliament, but Treasury minister David Gauke promised to press EU authorities for change.

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said Wednesday the EU was open to giving member states more power over sales tax.