The Politico.eu news portal has included Croatian innovator and businessman Mate Rimac in its first annual ranking of the 28 most influential people in the EU28 who have significant influence in their areas of work and the potential to change European politics.
The ranking of the European branch of the US news portal of the same name includes, for example, Hungary's controversial conservative leader Viktor Orban, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager of Denmark, who has launched a war against big multinational companies, and Belgian pop star Stromae.
"The result comprises people who aren't in obviously powerful positions or those with overwhelming popular appeal, but who are, nonetheless, on the cusp of power, where the greatest influence is so often exerted. Those on our list all have the ability to shape their sphere of impact, whether it be a country, a transnational activity, a legal system, a referendum, a religion, a crisis or even the very notion of European identity," Matthew Kaminski, executive editor of Politico's European edition, says in an introduction to the ranking.
"It's hard enough disrupting the car industry with an electric-powered vehicle when you're Elon Musk, a Silicon Valley billionaire with vast resources, powerful connections and the pick of the world's brainiest designers and scientists. But to do it from Croatia, a small European country of limited industrial pedigree?," reads a text on Rimac on politico.eu.
"Local engineers scoffed at Mate Rimac when the 27-year-old inventor announced he was going to commercially produce an electric supercar. They thought he was crazy. Now they’re lining up to collaborate," reads the article that describes Rimac's journey from a racing car fan to the owner of the Rimac Automobili company, estimated at EUR 70 million, which annually manufactures eight cars that each cost around EUR 900,000.
The article also says that Rimac has turned down several opportunities to move the business to a bigger country. He now employs about 120 people at his base on the outskirts of Zagreb, where they design and build virtually all the vehicle components from scratch.