Daniel Cohn-Bendit (born April 4, 1945) was a leader of the student protesters during May 1968 in France. He currently represents the French Green Party in the European Parliament.
Cohn-Bendit was born in France to German-Jewish parents but grew up in Germany and first went to school there. Being fluent in French in the 1960s he returned there to attend university. Although a German citizen, Cohn-Bendit felt he was far more a citizen of Europe than any particular country.
In May 1968 Paris exploded with student riots and a general strike against Charles de Gaulle's government. The charismatic Cohn-Bendit, long a leader of leftist student groups, quickly emerged as the leader and the public face of the student protesters. While his Germanness was an issue to right-wing opposition to his movement he still became a central figure in that tumultuous period of French history.
After the protests had collapsed and de Gaulle emerged victorious Cohn-Bendit was expelled from the country for being a seditious alien. Cohn-Bendit followed a number of careers in Germany before becoming deputy mayor of Frankfurt in 1989. As a member of the German Green party he was elected to the European parliament in 1994, and then in 1999 he reentered French politics and became leader of the French Green Party (Les Verts) in the European parliament.
Cohn-Bendit has long attracted controversy for his independent views. He is a strong proponent of freer immigration, the legalization of soft drugs, and the abandonment of nuclear power. He has received criticism from other leftists for his pro-free market policies and for supporting military interventions in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
He is a also a noted football fan.