I feel that EU officials/MEPs/researchers should be tasked with seeking out places where conversation about Europe are taking place online and actively engaging "on the participants' own turf" as it were.
a) Allow them to gain an appreciation for the varied types of community that exist
b) Come to a better idea of what is being discussed in the overall scheme of things
c) Discover what kinds of online forums, moderation styles etc work best for encouraging debate
I revert to an analogy I've used in the past - it's unlikely you'd take yourself and your friends off to a specific pub to talk about a topical issue, chances are you'd usually discuss it in your local with whoever happened to be there at the time.
If an EU official/MEP/researcher happened to show up in your local and engaged with any groups that were discussing Europe already (or just interjected with authoritative corrections to factual errors), then - provided they were prepared to properly engage - they'd likely achieve far more than simply waiting in their own pub for someone to talk to.
It's almost the same as being a missionary - The Catholic Church might still be waiting for South American members if they'd sat in Rome waiting for the Maya to come to Italy (not that I'm advocating EU officials decamp en masse to UseNet and burn all but 4 of the traditional books!)
Once they're actually in conversation with people interested enough to be discussing the subject in the first place, it's easy enough to say "We're hosting a policy debate online at http://..... about this in a week's time" - ideally, having garnered enough knowledge from interacting with the various groups of people who are experiencing the democratic deficit to work out what topic the forthcoming policy debate should actually be about.
The great benefit of the Net is that you can be in several pubs at once engaging in any number of conversations at once, and there are a growing number of software tools to make this process simpler than having to sit on dozens of websites hitting 'reload' on the forum index page every five minutes.
What are the chances of getting a paid job in the EU performing this kind of task for them, I wonder...
(Dave - I might have invented a new career for you! Forget that Oracle database stuff - get paid to show people how to participate in dozens of online communities effectively.)