In 2015, Germany saw nearly 900,000 people come to the country fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.
Looking back, the government made some mistakes in a situation that was hard to control, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told newspaper Welt am Sonntag referring to how the refugee crisis was handled.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy won both praise and strong criticism at home and abroad.
"We politicians are human, we too make mistakes. But one can at least learn from mistakes," Mr. Schäuble said.
Amid criticism, governments in Europe acted to slow the influx of refugees through the closure of the route through the Balkans and by supporting an agreement between the European Union and Turkey.
Bowing to critics, Ms. Merkel has said repeatedly, "a situation like that of summer 2015 can and must not repeat itself." In 2016, only 280,000 refugees came to Germany.
Mr. Schäuble said that Germany was so popular with refugees and migrants because it offers comparatively high welfare benefits. He proposed harmonizing these with those elsewhere in the E.U. "We have much higher standards of social security benefits than most European countries. That's why so many want to come to Germany," he said.