The European experts’ evaluation of the Romanian consulates in Istanbul and Chisinau level of preparation for issuing Schengen visas is positive, Foreign Affairs minister Cristian Diaconescu announced on Friday. It took 146,000 euros. The only deficiencies are technical and refer to informational systems.

"The process of evaluating consulates in Chisinau and Istanbul in the context of Romania joining Schengen has concluded. The conclusion is positive for Romania. Practically, the experts checked to see if the two offices are meeting the demands necessary in awarding visas, needed to join Schengen. The experts believe Romania can meet the Schengen standards regarding the visas", Diaconescu said.

The experts made additional observations and "a series of recommendations regarding adopting the procedures to the European norms and demands", Foreign Affairs minister said. According to him, the recommendations referred to minor technical details, which will be corrected.

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) can spend up to 39,7 million euros from European funds - "Schengen facility" scheme - and national contribution to bring Romanian consulates to Schengen standards. For the two offices - Itanbul and Chisinau, MAE spent 145,696 euros (-VAT).

Romania aims to join Schengen by 2011, which means no controls at the borders of the EU states. Therefore, Romania will become EU's Eastern border and it needs to have stricter control at its own borders - Schengen borders - and when awarding Schengen visas to non-EU citizens.

Thus, Romania is going through a series of checks that unfold according to a schedule: March 2009 - evaluation of the police cooperation, April 2009 - evaluating data protection, June 2009 - visas, September 2009 - maritime borders, November 2009 - aerial borders, December 2009 or March 2010 - ground borders.