BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romanian foreign direct investment should rise by a quarter to record levels of around 8 billion euros ($10 billion) this year, its last outside the European Union, government officials said. Foreign investors are flocking to Romania hoping to benefit from robust growth after Romania’s accession in January, and take advantage of cheap labor, low taxes and a young work force. «This year’s investments will rise far beyond expectations. For the first time we will reach record FDI level of around 8 billion euros,» Deputy Prime Minister Bogdan Pascu said in a statement. His forecasts are supported by the Romanian Agency for Foreign Investment (ARIS), which said that FDI inflows reached 4 billion euros in January-July this year and should rise to around 8 billion by the end of December. Earlier this month, the Black Sea state received 2.2 million euros from the sale of a stake in its largest bank BCR to Austria’s Erste Bank. ARIS officials say real estate is the sector which has got the most FDI so far this year as foreign investors snap up land and buildings in the Black Sea state hoping for long-term capital gains. ARIS President Florin Vasilache said his estimates did not include savings bank CEC, which the government hopes to sell this year.