Another person walking in the forest recently noticed that the stone had been moved. The history buff knew it wasn’t just any stone – it was there to mark the border between the two countries.
The marker had moved about 7.5 feet, according to BBC News, effectively giving Belgium more ground.
“He enlarged Belgium and smaller France, it’s not a good idea,” David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes, told French television channel TF1.
The move could pose a problem for private landowners – and neighboring countries, Lavaux said. But people in Belgium and France laughed at it.
“I was happy, my city was bigger,” the mayor said with a laugh. “But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc did not agree. “
The mayor of a nearby French village told La Voix du Nord “we should be able to avoid another border war,” BBC News reports.
France and Belgium share a 390-mile border, established under an 1820 treaty signed after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo five years earlier.
The stones were placed when the border was first decided in 1819.
Belgian authorities plan to simply contact the farmer and ask him to return the stone to him – but if he doesn’t, the Belgian Foreign Ministry could open a Franco-Belgian border commission, which has not happened. produced since 1930, according to BBC News. The farmer could also face criminal charges if he does not comply.
“If he shows good will, he will not have a problem, we will settle this issue amicably,” Lavaux told the Belgian news site Sudinfo.