Even two meters can make a difference and unleash the annoyance of France when it comes to borders. A Belgian farmer was aboard his tractor when he inadvertently redrawn the country’s border, moving it a little further because the stone that marked it was getting in his way. Uncovering the diplomatic incident was a local history buff, who was walking through the forest, when he noticed that the totem had moved 2.29 m (7.5 ft) across French territory.
“It made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea,” David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes, told French TV channel TF1. Even if the fact was received more with laughter than with indignation. The border between France and Belgium extends for 620 km. It was formally established by the Treaty of Kortrijk, signed in 1820 after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo five years earlier. The stone dates back to 1819.
“I was happy, my city had become bigger,” added the Belgian mayor. But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc did not agree as much. “We should be able to avoid a new border war,” said the mayor of the neighboring French village, Aurélie Welonek. But what will happen now? Local Belgian authorities contacted the farmer to ask him to return the stone to its original position. If this does not happen, the case could end up with the Belgian Foreign Ministry, which is expected to convene a Franco-Belgian border commission, inactive since 1930. Mayor Lavaux also noted that the farmer could also suffer criminal consequences if he did not. conformed. But “if he shows good will, he will have no problems, we will resolve the matter amicably,” he told Belgian news site Sudinfo.