A Belgian farmer has caused noise because he has tacitly moved the border between Belgium and France.
A history fanatic from the area had to notice the change. During a walk in the woods, he saw that a stone indicating the boundary had been moved 2.29 meters.
The farmer, perhaps annoyed because the stone blocked a path for his tractor, moved the border towards French territory, according to the BBC.
“He has made Belgium bigger, and France smaller. Thats not a smart idea,” responds David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian town of Erquelinnes diplomatically to the French television channel TF1.
According to the mayor, such a thing can result in tensions between landowners and even states, although the action is mainly watched with a slight smile. “I was happy, my place had become bigger”, laughs Lavaux. “But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc thought it was less.”
“We must avoid a new border war”, that mayor, Aurélie Welonek, also responds with a quintaction. It refers to 1820, when the border was officially established, five years after the lost battle of Napoleon at Waterloo. The stone that was pushed by the peasant was made in 1819 when the boundaries became more or less clear.
The Belgian authorities will appeal to the farmer with a request to put the stone back. Should they refuse, the case must occur before a special French-Belgian border commission, which has never had to act again since 1930. Some of them gloat at at the idea.
Mayor Lavaux is pushing the pressure and says the farmer risks prosecution if he refuses. “But if he turns out to be of good will, there is no problem, we will arrange this in good understanding.”