Farmer accidentally moves border between France and Belgium after stone gets in tractor’s way

Kate Plummer
Wednesday 05 May 2021 10:07
news
The 1819 border stone is pictured in its new position. (TF1)

Politicians always bang on about borders – what they represent, what their implications are. But, apparently, they are pretty fluid. After all, a farmer just changed one.

A Belgian farmer moved a stone – marking the boundary between Belgium and France – as it was in his tractor’s path. By moving it 2.29 metres inside French territory, he changed the map of Europe – all for the sake of his tractor.

Reacting to the huge moment for international relations (which was discovered by a local history enthusiast), David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian village Erquelinnes told French media: “He made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea.”

“I was happy, my town was bigger,” the Belgian mayor added with a laugh. “But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.”

The stone the farmer moved dates back to 1819, when the 620km border between France and Belgium was formally established. Despite the years of history represented by the stone, local politicians were pretty chilled out about it moving.

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“We should be able to avoid a new border war,” the amused mayor of the neighbouring French village, Aurélie Welonek, told La Voix du Nord.

Local Belgian authorities plan to contact the farmer to ask him to return the stone to its original location. If that does not happen he could also face criminal charges.

Let’s hope he is not too wedded to his tractor path, then.

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