Prague - Prague is one of the three European capitals that defer the most from other regions of the respective country.
Besides that, the economic and development gap between Prague and all other Czech cities keeps growing in a faster pace than ever. Most European countries try hard to build counterparts to their capitals to promote competition.
The recipe used in the Netherlands, Austria or Spain seems easy - getting enough money for investments and working together on development projects that are not limited by cities borders.
"Ostrava has a good chance," says Dan Marek, sociologist from the University in Olomouc about the booming city in northern Moravia that once used to be a coal mining metropolis.
Ostrava to overtake Prague
It got better prerequisites for using money from the European funds - Ostrava will be able to draw the money from the funds directly and will not have to share with other neighboring regions.
More then that, in the last couple of years, Ostrava has attracted IT investors. The city mayor Petr Kajnar announced already five years ago that the plan was to overtake Prague.
And five years later, his wish has partially become true - Ostrava is now the fastest growing region in the Czech Republic besides Prague.
"A new elite starts to emerge here. They do not want to pump ten millions out of the factories and use them for building mansions, they want to grow their business as well as the city," the mayor describes the ongoing changes in the Moravian metropolis.
He points out that Ostrava can be successful only if it plans and works together with surrounding towns and cities.
"We are working within a conurbation with a population of 700,000," Mr. Kajnar describes how his city prospers. The growth came after a phase of decline that Prague never experienced.
Great expectations of Brno
Brno, another Moravian metropolis, had to deal with similar obstacles.
"Traditional heavy engineering industry went through a massive decline after 1990, the textile industry basically disappeared," says Roman Onderka, the mayor of Brno.
Lost industry has been gradually replaced by new businesses and Brno is trying to find a way to keep graduates of local universities whose number is even five times higher than in the booming Dutch regional center Groningen.
Mr. Onderka has big hopes about investments of the prestigious American Mayo Clinic in the local hospitals and he also has great expectations about planned Central European Technology Center that should be funded by Brussels.
The mayor of Brno is positive that Brno can be a good competition to Prague.