EU finance ministers are grappling with issues some see as crucial to ending the financial crisis — creating a banking union and implementing a financial transaction tax.

But there was no sign of EU-wide agreement on either issue Tuesday morning as the officials began a meeting in Luxembourg. While some countries want the banking union in place by year's end, officials in other countries counseled caution.

Dutch Foreign Minister Jan Kees de Jager said the union was important to unlinking banking risk and sovereign risk. But he added, "It's important that we do it step-by-step and that the substance is leading and not the calendar. It's impossible to fix a certain date to it."

Several EU countries are considering implementing a financial transaction tax separately, as EU agreement appears impossible.