In his first term, French President Emmanuel Macron made a point of visiting each and every EU member state. Those overtures didn’t always land.

Now, with Germany distracted by its own concerns, the president has refashioned himself into the EU leader he’s long believed he could be.

In areas ranging from defense to industrial policy, officials familiar with the European Union’s inner workings say Macron is calling the shots as rarely before. And while his strained relationship with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has subdued the Franco-German duopoly through which he used to get his way, these days he’s wielding influence through a series of quieter partnerships.