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Farmer accidently moves Belgium's border with France

A Belgian farmer, vexed by a stone blocking a tractor path has inadvertently moved the country’s border by mistake.

File picture. Source: istock.com

The change was noticed by a history enthusiast who was out walking and found the boundary between France and Belgium had moved 2.29 metres, the BBC reports.

However officials on both sides of the border managed to find the humorous side of the situation.

"He 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. That sort of move caused a headache between private landowners, he pointed out, let alone neighbouring states.

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

"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 ask the farmer to request he return the stone to its original location.

If that doesn't happen the case could end up at the Belgian Foreign Ministry, which would have to summon a Franco-Belgian border commission, dormant since 1930.

The border between France and what is now Belgium stretches 620km.

It was formally established under the Treaty of Kortrijk, signed in 1820 after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo five years earlier. The stone dates back to 1819, when the border was first marked out.

Lavaux noted that the farmer could also face criminal charges if he failed to comply.

"If he shows good will, he won't have a problem, we will settle this issue amicably," he told Belgian news website Sudinfo.