Estonia's prime minister says he will step down next week after nearly nine years in office in the small Baltic nation.

Andrus Ansip's resignation had been expected after his 2012 announcement that he would not seek another term in next year's parliamentary elections.

Estonian media have widely speculated that the 57-year-old politician will seek the post of Estonia's EU commissioner after he steps down on March 4.

No changes in government policy were expected since the governing Reform Party has said that Ansip would be replaced by party member Siim Kallas, a veteran politician.

Ansip has been prime minister since April 2005, one of the longest-serving heads of state in the European Union.