Peripheral rural areas are particularly affected by demographic changes. The research question is: how the involved rural actors interact with each other to react to the resulting challenges, and why does this mode of interaction come about? The contribution presents empirical data from a survey and three case studies conducted in 2008 and 2009. The results indicate the coincidence of cooperation and unilateral action. Regional partnership is limited and every actor first tries to solve his problems by himself, and where necessary with a beggar-thy-neighbour policy. Rural actors engage in cooperation most notably to acquire funding, to exchange experiences, to prepare concepts and to conduct analyses. They develop and implement their projects, however, predominantly unilaterally.