France had never before allowed a rescue vessel carrying migrants to land on its coast, but did so this time because Italy had refused access.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Thursday that the migrants were Italy’s responsibility under EU rules, and that the French move was an “exceptional” measure that would not guide future action.

He said Italy’s refusal to accept the migrants was “incomprehensible” and that there would be “severe consequences” for Italy’s bilateral relations with France and with the EU as a whole.