The border between Belgium and France, set in 1819, was unwittingly changed by a Belgian farmer. Belgian authorities will meet with the Erquelinnes farmer and ask him to move the border stone back to its former location. If the farmer refuses to do so, he’ll be prosecuted. The 2.5-meter borderline will force the two countries foreign ministers to step in and call on the border commission for the first time since 1930.
The Belgian territory grew slightly larger after the Belgian farmer moved the border stone between the two countries about 2.5 meters away, saying it blocked his tractor and plow while driving his field. The farmer, who lives in Erquelinnes, on the border with France in the Belgian state of Hainaut, did not think the stone in his field would cause an international diplomatic problem.
According to Belgian media, the farmer moved the boundary stone in his field 2 meters and 29 centimeters away, “redrawing” the border marked in 1819.
The 620km land border between Belgium and France was formally established on 28 March 1820, five years after the defeat of Waterloo, by an agreement signed by the French Emperor Napoleon and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. At that time, Belgium was part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A local history buff from the French town of Bousignies – Sur -Roc on the opposite side of the border noticed the change in the borderline during the forest walk. Thanks to the new borderline drawn by the Erquelinnes farmer, it was determined that Belgium had expanded the territory of the country without a fight and That France had lost territory.
David Lavaux, mayor of the town of Erquelinnes, humorously described the incident to the French media. “I was happy,” the Belgian mayor said. My town was bigger but the mayor of Bousignies – Sur – Roc disagreed.”
“Our farmer citizen raised Belgium, made France smaller. This is not a good idea.”
“We must avoid a new border war,” said Aurélie Welenok, the mayor of the French town, in the same playful manner.
Belgian authorities will meet with the Erquelinnes farmer and ask him to move the border stone back to its former location. If the farmer refuses to do so, he’ll be prosecuted. In this case, the foreign ministers of the two countries will have to step in and call on the border commission for the first time since 1930. Mayor Lavaux told Belgian media that if the farmer showed good faith, the problem would be resolved amicably.