German and French broadcasters have come under fire from the European Film Academy (EFA) for not airing this year's European Film Awards, which takes place in Rome this Saturday (Dec 7).

"It is a political and cultural scandal that the television broadcasters in France and Germany are unwilling to partner with the European Film Academy in promoting European cinema through the European Film Awards," said Humbert Balsan, French Board member, and Dieter Kosslick, German Board member of the European Film Academy in a statement. "We have talked to absolutely everyone over the past years but the attitude is that the enhancement of European film culture seems not to be within their remit."

Apart from telecasts scheduled in the rest of Europe, the USA, Latin America and South Africa, the awards ceremony with 1,500 guests from the European film industry will be presented for the first time this year by TV stations in Australia, Canada, Russia and Israel.

Ironically, Franco-German cultural channel ARTE is a sponsor of one of the European Film Awards - the European Documentary Award Prix ARTE - which has been won this year by Nicolas Philibert for his Etre Et Avoir.

37 European films have been shortlisted to compete for the best European Film 2002.