One of the constant burning cultural issues since 2009 is the controversial (and in many parts illegal) government project “Skopje 2014”. It was enforced by the previous regime (2006-2017) without consulting the Parliament or the expert community. The so called project completely reshaped the (modernistic) city centre of Skopje with antique-looking monuments (including a giant 30 metre high monument to Alexander the Great, his father Phillip II and mother Olympia, other local / national political figures etc.), public buildings were re-shaped in pseudo-baroque and neo-classic style, a triumphal arch was built etc. Moreover, the so called “Wiretapping” scandal (2016/2017), involving the Prime Minister and other government ministers (especially the Minister of Culture), unveiled numerous irregularities and arbitrariness around this notorious project.
Although it was estimated to cost around 80 million EUR, even today the entire cost of the project is still unknown. Estimations exceed 800 million EUR but no government institution is dealing with it.
The so called “Project Skopje 2014” was one of the cornerstones of the opposition critics at that time and was a strong argument against the criminal and corrupted regime. The promise that the new democratic government will consequently deal with this “project” gained support from most Skopje citizens. In 2017, the new Minister of Culture formed a working group to analyse all aspects of the whole project and to suggest solutions for each part of it. Although the working group managed to deliver 15 suggestions for the major monuments none of the suggested measures were accepted by the Government. The working group was gradually suspended after only a year and a half without finishing its job.